For the second consecutive season, Penn State’s Sophia “Phia” Gladieux was named National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Mideast Player of the Year. Gladieux will be adding this award to a whole list she earned for her outstanding play in the 2022 season for the Nittany Lions.
She was a first-team All-Mideast for the third straight season and she was named both Big Ten Player of the Year and Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year as well. She was a first-team All-Big Ten selection this season for the third straight time and was named to the 2022 NCAA All-Tournament Team. She also has been named a two-time All-American.
Gladieux ended the year with 49 points off a team-high 23 goals and three assists. Gladieux has 53 career goals and seven career assists for a total of 87 points in three years as a starter at Penn State. She sits in ninth place on Penn State’s all-time goals-scored list. Gladieux was also an NFHCA National All-Academic honoree and an Academic All-Big Ten winner in 2021.
When she was told the news about her awards she humbly stated “It was exciting for sure, I have worked so hard over the summer to continue to grow as a player, and that hard work certainly paid off in the games. Awards are usually supposed to recognize the players and their talent and success, so it was definitely a confidence booster to not only win Offensive player of the year but just Player of the Year in general. The Big Ten conference is certainly the top conference in college field hockey at the moment, so to win awards as big as those meant even more to me considering the pool of talent I was up against, again, super humbling and rewarding—and a confidence boost for sure.”
When they learned of the news her team was really excited for her and congratulated her when she got in the locker room. Her family and friends were super excited for her and she received a multitude of messages through text and on social media congratulating her.
“It feels good knowing I am constantly being supported by my teammates,” Gladieux stated. “I saw the coaches in the hall after I found out and gave them a hug, and I also congratulated Coach Char (Morett-Curtiss) on being named Big Ten Coach of the Year, another huge honor.”
While she usually doesn’t like to think about personal awards, she realizes her play on the field will do the talking for her. But winning an award such as Big Ten Player/Offensive Player Of The Year is definitely a huge honor for anybody and she worked hard to earn this.
“It feels good to have your hard work and success recognized by other people and coaches,” Gladieuex said. “I knew it was something I was capable of, but as I said, I don’t like to spend much time thinking about individual awards; I focus on working hard and growing as a team…the other things will fall into place!”
Penn State had an outstanding season as they finished 17-4 and went to the Final four before falling to eventual champion North Carolina. Several players will be leaving but the coaching staff has done a great job recruiting and the future looks very bright for the Nittany Lions.
“Making it to the final four was very motivating for all of us,” says Gladieux. “We knew we hadn’t made it since 2007, and we have been cut short year after year, so to finally be able to end that streak with this team was so exciting. But we learned a lot and came up just short against an undefeated team and hopefully we can build on that experience as a team.”
The Nittany Lions always play one of the toughest schedules and Big Ten field hockey is quite possibly the best in the nation as they placed three teams in the Final Four this season. Just a team getting to the final four and being able to say that and play in it is a great achievement many teams will never experience and can only dream of. But Gladiuex thinks the tough loss will drive the team even harder and the experience of being there will pay off in the end.
“I am very excited for next season and I know the girls are ready to step up to the plate,” Gladiuex stated. “I know that the coaching staff is going to get those players prepared for what it takes to compete consistently on the field. Each year is a new team, and I am really excited to see what next year’s team brings. Our culture is still extremely strong, and I can’t wait to get the freshman on board—I know they will fall right into place!”