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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Surf and turf: Cape Cod duo making waves for Quinnipiac field hockey

Courtesy of Pliable Marketing
Quinnipiac field hockey’s Lauren Knight (left) and Katie Shanahan (right) during an athlete outreach tour with Pliable Marketing on July 17.

Nestled in the corner of Massachusetts, Cape Cod has always been known for its beaches, restaurants and summertime adventures. Now, thanks in part to Quinnipiac sophomore Lauren Knight and freshman Katie Shanahan, the Cape is being put on the map for something quite different than lobsters and clams: field hockey. 

Despite living over an hour away from each other, Knight from Orleans, Shanahan from Falmouth, both have found friendship through the sport of field hockey. 

In 2018 they both joined Cape Cod Field Hockey Club. For both of them, the Cape is emerging as a hotbed for the sport. 

“Cape Cod Field Hockey started up right about when we were nine or 10, and at that point a lot of girls across Cape Cod joined,” Shanahan said. “It became very competitive.” 

Even though they were teammates for Cape Cod FHC the two didn’t stray away when it came time to go up against each other in high school. 

“It’s always fun to play against someone you know,” Knight said. “It makes it a little more competitive but also more fun.” 

Knight departed the Cape to join Quinnipiac in 2022, a year before Shanahan would make her arrival. For Knight, Hamden wasn’t initially her top choice. 

“Quinnipiac was the first school I talked to, and originally I didn’t want to go to the first school that contacted me first, but through the summer I was talking to schools in Virginia and South Carolina,” Knight said. “I realized I wanted to be closer to home.” 

Knight’s first season as a Bobcat wasn’t smooth sailing, as she was still recovering from a knee injury that forced her to miss her senior season in high school. The Orleans native only appeared in 11 games during her freshman campaign, but saw light at the end of the tunnel in her road to recovery. 

“Coming in as a freshman you want to be peaking, you want to be the best player you can, and you want to be in the best health, best mental state,” Knight said. “Thankfully, I didn’t have any torn ligaments but it was a long process of figuring out what was going on.” 

For Shanahan, the decision to become a Bobcat was an easy one, despite being one of the top field hockey recruits in Massachusetts. The Falmouth native is a two-time Boston Herald All-Scholastic winner as well as the 2022 Cape and Islands League MVP. 

“She’s coming in as a first-year and our starting center back, and I think she’s very poised and relaxed back there,” Quinnipiac head coach Nina Klein said. “She’s been a great impact, she has a wonderful sweep and she has been really helpful in our outlets.” 

Her interest in coming to Hamden actually sparked a long time ago. 

“I’ve been coming to prospect clinics starting in eighth grade, and you don’t go to clinics unless you’re really interested in a school,” Shanahan said. “Quinnipiac was always my No. 1.” 

It certainly helped knowing that her former teammate in Knight would also be suiting up to play at Quinnipiac. Knight was able to lend a helping ear whenever Shanahan had any questions, especially upon her arrival. 

“I’d call Lauren twice or three times a week just asking her questions,” Shanahan said. “It could have been something small like ‘where’s this building?’ She also convinced me to take the same major (Health Sciences) as her as well, so I’d say she’s been really supportive.” 

The bond the two have created on the field is beginning to translate off the field in the form of NIL. Most notably seen among the more well known college sports, the two are paving a path for field hockey players everywhere, with a focus on giving back to the community that raised them. 

Knight and Shanahan both signed on with the NIL representation company, Pliable Marketing, owned by Quinnipiac alumni Greg Glynn. Former Quinnipiac athletes, women’s ice hockey goaltender Catie Boudiette and women’s golfer Kaylee Sakoda are also members of Pliable. 

“I make sure that I’m recruiting good athletes that are great people,” Glynn said. “If I don’t have both parts of the equation it becomes really hard for NIL opportunities.” 

Glynn immediately realized that Knight and Shanahan were perfect fits for his company, with the added benefit of both being Bobcats. 

It was a good sign for Glynn when Shanahan asked for their initial meeting to be at 6 a.m. 

“I tell athletes I can meet anywhere from 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., you tell me what college kid picks 6 a.m. on a Friday morning,” Glynn said. “I call her ‘6 a.m. Shanahan’ because she’s a go-getter.”

Knight and Shanahan are working on a deal with CRISP, a pizza restaurant in Osterville, Cape Cod. A restaurant that is a special meeting spot for them as it’s directly in the middle of where they both live. 

When originally approached by Pliable, Knight was hesitant about jumping into the world of NIL as she wasn’t completely comfortable about the social media aspect. Through many NIL brand deals, athletes are required to post on social media showing off the product. 

This time around Knight went to Shanahan looking for advice. 

“I’m not a TikTok person, that’s something I like to shy away from,” Knight said. “Now that I’ve watched Katie do it and see all the success that she’s had, it’s a lot easier to get into it.” 

Shanahan has certainly elevated her status with NIL deals through social media. She has posted brand deals through her Instagram as an ambassador for Adidas and Seaav, a clothing company founded by Quinnipiac alumni and former rugby player Mckenna Haz. 

Shanahan has been using her platform to give back to her community this past summer when she founded the Falmouth Field Hockey Summer Camp. The main goal being to introduce new players to the game without the overwhelming decision of joining a club team. 

“Cape Cod FHC is such a big program that it can be overwhelming and not everyone can always fit into their camps,” Shanahan said. “So just starting them out small and then pushing them to Cape Cod FHC was kind of my main goal.” 

A perfect example of their role-reversal relationship can be seen in an unboxing video Lauren is filming for a NIL brand deal. 

“Part of the deal is that I do an unboxing video and I was like ‘oh my gosh, I’m a little nervous for this because what are people gonna think,’” Knight said. “Hopefully she’ll be the one filming it so she can give some thumbs up and down when I say things.”

Field hockey won’t last forever, but the work that Lauren Knight and Katie Shanahan do in their communities is something they both hope will last long after they hang up the cleats. 

“I really want to support local businesses on Cape Cod,” Knight said. “It’s a lot of family owned things and it’s a very small town feeling, so I just want to give back to that.” 

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Colin Kennedy
Colin Kennedy, Managing Editor

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    Debi DarsonSep 28, 2023 at 4:21 pm

    Great article about these capable and determined women. They know what they want and are willing to put the time and effort into furthering something healthy and lasting for all young women on the Cape and elsewhere.