Stansbury headed to St. Bonaventure
HAMMONTON—A trip to upstate New York last February helped Hammonton High School senior soccer player Kendall Stansbury decide where she would continue her stellar career.
A few weeks before colleges became unable to allow official visits to their campuses, Stansbury made a six-hour trip to St. Bonaventure University, where she immediately felt comfortable with the school and its soccer program.
“I visited in February and loved the campus, loved the coach and loved the players,” Stansbury said.
Last month, Stansbury announce that she would attend St. Bonaventure this fall, where she plans to play soccer while studying accounting or finance.
“I loved everything about it. [After the visit], we talked more throughout quarantine and I committed to them over a Zoom call,” Stansbury said.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way college programs recruit, as athletes are restricted in their ability to visit schools while coaches often cannot see potential players in person.
“I’m very glad that they [St. Bonaventure] were able to see me last season and that we were able to visit before everything shut down,” Stansbury said.
As for how she’ll figure in the Bonnies’ plans next season, Stansbury was unsure what her role will be.
“I’m not sure what will happen. Hopefully, we’ll have a season. They didn’t play this year, so their freshmen didn’t get to play,” Stansbury said.
Unlike her future teammates, Stansbury was able to play in 2020, as Hammonton put together a solid season this fall.
“I’m happy with how we played. [We] came off losing season after losing season and we pushed through it and won a couple more games than we usually did this year,” Stansbury said.
Stansbury was one of nine seniors on the Blue Devils’ roster, a group that played a large role in the team’s success. Hammonton finished the year with a 5-5 record, falling in the quarterfinals of the South Jersey playoffs.
“We had nine seniors this year and I think we all played with more heart this year, especially because it was our last year. I felt like we were the role models for the underclassmen, showing them what to do,” Stansbury said.
Many of Hammonton’s seniors played together before their high school careers began four years ago, and that familiarity not only helped the team succeed it served as motivation during the season.
“It’s much easier to play with people you’ve played with before. Some of us played together when we were little. We’ve been together for so long, we made so many memories together,” Stansbury said.
Last season was shorter than usual because of the pandemic, and as a result, Hammonton’s seniors appreciated each game.
“We played every game like it was our last one. We played hard because we never knew if we were going to have any more games or practices,” Stansbury said.
That uncertainty was stressful for all Hammonton’s players and coaches.
“It was tough every day, not knowing what to expect. We’re just glad we had a season,” Stansbury said.
With the season completed, Stansbury has had time to reflect on her high school career and final season as a Blue Devil.
“I’m happy with how I played. I wish we had some more games to put up bigger numbers, but I’m glad we played at all,” she said.
Stansbury leaves Hammonton as one of its top-10 all-time goal scorers with 26 in her career.
If all goes well, Stansbury will be scoring goals for St. Bonaventure next fall while adapting to life away from home.
“[It’s ] six hours away, kind of far. I’ll miss home but I’ll get used to it,” she said.