‘I’m sure it’ll be quite the game,’ new Boiling Springs head field hockey coach jokes about playing against her dad and Greenwood in 2023

When it comes to rivalries in Pennsylvania high school field hockey, Boiling Springs versus Greenwood is a matchup often talked about.

And, it just got even more interesting.

The Bubblers welcomed Bayley Leonard as its newest head coach in mid-April. Leonard is inheriting the program from Kortney Showers. Showers, and her two assistant coaches, had an historic year in 2022. All three resigned at the end of the season.

“There’s a slight intimidation factor knowing that they literally had the perfect season last year,” Leonard told FAN. “As an outsider, it was so much fun to watch them and cheer them on.”

During the 2022 fall season, the Boiling Springs team went 26-0. The Bubblers, which only allowed four goals scored against them, were 2022 District 3 champions and 2022 PIAA champions. It was the first time the program won gold in both.

“Yes, they won all their games, won districts, won states,” Leonard said. “I think even though there might be some slight intimidation with that, it sets the tone. The girls have worked hard, and the coaches have worked hard, and we want to continue that positive culture that all the former coaches have worked so hard to achieve.”

Leonard, a Greenwood High School and McDaniel College graduate, said she’s learned a lot from her dad Kent Houser. Houser is the head field hockey coach at Greenwood.

“I’m sure it’ll be quite the game,” she joked. “My mom has already been joking about it. My parents live in Carlisle. He commutes back and forth to work. But, she’s already joked about us going to dinner after the game. And, I said to her, ‘one of us is not going to enjoy that dinner, and that will be him.’ I’m sure, like in previous years, it’s going to be a great game; high intensity from both teams.”

Boiling Springs and Greenwood compete in Pennsylvania’s Class 1A division District 3.

For as long as Leonard has been alive, her dad has been Greenwood’s head field hockey coach, she said. She’s proud to have grown up on a field hockey field and that her life has been influenced by “all kinds of older female role models.”

“They wanted me to be a strong, confident leader in women’s sports,” she said “I always really enjoyed that growing up and I fell in love with the sport of field hockey. And my dad, he puts so much time and effort into his team and his program. He loves the sport of field hockey. He inspired me and encouraged me to get into coaching. I’m really excited to join a program that has a great field hockey culture. I’m super excited about that.”

Leonard and her husband moved to the Boiling Springs school district almost three years ago, she said. They both wanted to live in a small, close-knit community, where they could raise their children. They have a four-year-old daughter and two-year-old son.

“When we were trying to figure out where we wanted to raise our family, Boiling Spring was high on our list,” she said. “We were super excited to find a house in the district.”

Boiling Springs hired Leonard in August 2022. She is a first-grade teacher at Rice Elementary School.

“We live super close to the high school campus, and we go on walks there,” she said. “We were at most of the home games last year for all of the sports. My kids love going to them.”

Prior to joining the Bubblers, Leonard worked at Big Spring and coached. She was an assistant coach for the Bulldogs for four years and has been coaching club at PA Accelerated for the last three.

A four-year starter at McDaniel, she played mid and defensive-mid. She was a two-time captain, first team All Centennial Conference and second team All Region athlete her senior season. She majored in psychology and minored in elementary education.

She received approval to be a volunteer coach by the Boiling Springs School District school board in mid-April. The approval allowed her to start working with the athletes, she said. Her compensation will be approved at a later date.

A handful of Bubblers are playing in a spring 7v7 league at Big Spring and have started weightlifting, she said.

“We have 10 varsity returners,” Leonard said. “For sure, we’re losing a lot of great players, but we’re also getting a lot of great players back. Everyone has had really great energy, really excited and excited to continue to succeed instead of just being happy with what happened last season. We’re keeping hungry for those wins and looking forward to success like they’ve had in the past.”

With preseason around the corner, Leonard is looking for assistant coaches. Anyone who is interested should contact the district.

“Central Pennsylvania has raised up a lot of field hockey powerhouse players,” she said. “And, there are a lot of people in our area. I’m trying to connect with people in our area, continuing the same field hockey culture, building up people who are good for the program. I’m trying to find some people to step into those shoes from last season that will be hard to fill.”

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