Shauna LaMaina, junior accounting major and finance minor, was awarded New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) offensive player of the weeks of September 26, 2016 and October 6, 2016. Being awarded these titles two weeks in a row is an amazing accomplishment for any student athlete.
"It is safe to say that athletics runs in the family and I wouldn’t be the athlete I am today without my parents. I also have a twin sister, Krista LaMaina, who I’ve been through everything with. She’s been on every sports field with me and we have a connection like no other. We always know where each other are on the field, and she has assisted me on almost every one of my goals," she says.
LaMaina loves her college experience at Kean University and finds the school to be the perfect size for her, as she comes from a small town. Kean University feels like a new home for her and she looks forward to working hard towards her accounting degree and hopefully leaving her mark in the athletic program as best as she can.
"When I was first considering Kean [University] for field hockey and lacrosse I fell in love with their athletic facilities, how much they offered for their athletes and that they cared for their well-being. I was also looking for a school that I could play field hockey and lacrosse at that while being a DIII [division three] school still played like a DI [division one] competition-wise, so Kean University fit my liking just right," LaMaina says.
LaMaina does not remember the exact time she began to play field hockey, although she recalls being very young, around kindergarten, when she started. As a child, she played a lot of sports, ranging from a field hockey to dance.
In field hockey, LaMaina plays center back. She chose to play field hockey because of her love of the game.
"I love the skill you need to acquire just to be able to beat a defender, I love how physical the game can get, and I also love how it’s always changing and there are new rules and skills each year so you always have something new to learn," she says.
Playing field hockey has allowed her to develop several important relationships in her life.
"My favorite thing about field hockey is the people that I have met along the way. Through middle school and high school, my teammates have always been my best friends," LaMaina says. "When I came to Kean University, I built a new family of friends through field hockey and they will be friends that I keep for the rest of my life. Not to mention my friends' families, which I consider my own. Every game, not only do I get a huge hug from my family, but I also get one from each of my friends' parents telling me 'good game.'"
She admits, field hockey can be a bit pressuring and there comes plenty of challenges within the sport.
"Well, as one of the team captains, there is a little more pressure at times than normal. However, I thrive from pressure. I feel like without pressure, there is no competitive edge. I am a very competitive person so I like having the pressure on me."
Students may not know her favorite and touching memory with field hockey, and she wanted to share it.
"My best memory came this year in our game against Rowan University. It was one of the first games in October, which is known as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Unfortunately, over six years ago my grandma passed away from breast cancer, so I was playing that game in memory of her. This was a conference game and I knew it was going to be a battle from the start. Before the game started and I stood in the middle of the field waiting for the first whistle to blow, I kissed my necklace -- which is the medallion of St. Christopher -- that I wear every game, [and held it] up to the sky and said 'one goal for you grandma and one goal for you grandpa,'" she says. "As the game went on I ended up scoring the first goal for our team...Not long into overtime, I stole the ball from a defender right outside our offensive circle and I fired in a shot from the top of the circle that went into the right corner of the cage. I had the winning goal for us. At that point I looked up to the sky and knew that my grandma and grandpa had been right by my side through that entire game and they were the reason that we had won. I was overwhelmed by the entire experience and that was the week that I received NJAC Player of the Week."
Needless to say, LaMaina was very happy to hear about her new title, as well as shocked because she has been a defender her whole life, so this was something that made her feel different.
She received an insane amount of calls and text messages from her family and friends when they all found out. They were all so proud of her and told her she truly deserved the honor.
She advises, "Always put your heart into the game. Whichever sport you chose, if you don’t love it, then there is no point in playing."
After graduation, LaMaina plans to finish the rest of her requirements to become a Certified Financial Planner and hopefully work at her father's company, Cornerstone Financial Advisers Inc.
In the future, she plans to play in adult hockey leagues to continue to play the sport she loves. She does not think she could ever give it up for good.
"I take a step back and think about it. I know I could never give up the sport that I love the most," she says. "When I have kids, I hope to one day be able to coach them just like my mom and dad did to me."