For two-sport college athlete Hyla Mosher ’19, there is no rest for the weary.
“I had an NCAA playoff game and then had hockey practice the next day,” said Mosher. “They were talking to me about how to play defense in hockey, but my mind was still in soccer.”
One could forgive Mosher the distraction, as this season she has been one of the most valuable members of the Hamilton women’s soccer team. She led the team in goals with nine and was second overall in points (20), trailing her teammate Rylie Mutton by just two.
And by her own account, she wouldn’t have it any other way. “I love it – I would always want to be in season,” she said. For Mosher, nothing beats the thrill of competition. “Games, obviously, but I love competing in practice, too,” she said. “Having a winner and a loser, having something that you are working for.”
Many of those goals were crucial as Mosher helped lead the Continentals to a 14-3-2 record, its highest win total in more than a decade. The team suffered just one loss in the regular season, and finished ranked #17 nationally. Hamilton reached the semifinals of the NESCAC tournament and the second round of the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2010.
When asked to describe her style of play, Mosher is utterly self-effacing. “Watching any of the games, my goals were not self-created – they were assists from other people,” she said.
Mosher’s humility is not surprising for Christy Cooper, head of the girls varsity program at Hotchkiss, who coached Mosher here in Lakeville. “She loved contributing to her team’s success, but never wanted the attention or the spotlight,” said Cooper.
When Cooper scouts Mosher, she praises her for her quickness. “Former assistant Diego Ardura always called her ‘sneaky’. She would often burst into a situation and make good things happen with speed, grit, and extra effort,” said Cooper.
Mosher agreed with Cooper with another dose of modesty. “I’m on the lower end in terms of soccer skill on my team, but speed and athleticism has kept me in the soccer world,” she said.
That self-assessment seems a bit understated for someone who recorded a hat trick in the team’s regular season finale this year. For Mosher, the biggest step forward she has taken as a college soccer player has been on defense. After shifting from her striker position at Hotchkiss to a right wing, Mosher says she now has a much more significant defensive responsibility.
College soccer has been an adjustment for Mosher, as it is for most high-level high school players. “Everyone’s on the exact same playing field in college,” she said. “It’s a lot more competitive environment when every single person really wants to be a college soccer player.”
Playing two years of varsity soccer at Hotchkiss was crucial to elevating Mosher’s game to the point where she could play at the college level, she said. “At Hotchkiss there were traditions, a routine every day, high stakes. It was a lot more serious than my earlier teams.”
But Mosher also credited Cooper for emphasizing the importance of teamwork, both on and off the pitch. “I learned a lot at Hotchkiss, even outside of soccer, about how to be on a team,” she said.
She also was quick to credit her teammates, particularly star midfielder Louisa Essuman ’20, for helping her shine. “Playing striker next to Louisa will obviously make you better,” said Mosher. “She set me up and I was always running onto the ball.”
When asked to recall her favorite memories of Hotchkiss soccer, Mosher’s competitive fire burned bright. “The playoffs, for sure the playoffs. Any high stakes game, any time we played rivals, like Taft Day where games were really important,” she said.
For Mosher, the through line is clear. “I don’t even think I would be able to play college soccer if I didn’t play at Hotchkiss,” she said.