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Ceruti goes from novice to a top player in PCL

Ryan senior midfielder Theresa Ceruti scored what might be the most memorable goal of the Catholic League regular season against Carroll.

Theresa Ceruti followed in the Ryan tradition by holding summer workouts to help players who were new to field hockey. It paid off as Ryan made the Catholic League playoffs. SUPPLIED PHOTO

Theresa Ceruti doesn’t just have the most memorable goal of the season for her team.

She might have the most memorable goal of the Catholic League regular season.

Ceruti, a senior midfielder on the Archbishop Ryan High School field hockey team, was the only player to score a goal this year against PCL champion Archbishop Carroll. With the exception of her goal, the Patriots shut out every team they played against.

Ceruti was the only one to penetrate the defense and beat Carroll’s goalie.

“It was really cool, I scored on a breakaway,” the Bustleton native said. “I got a great pass and went in and scored. They were really mad. It meant a lot to me because it was a big goal at the time. We lost (9–1), but it showed we were a good team.”

The Ragdolls showed they were a good team all year and it helped that they had Ceruti, who was named First-Team All-Catholic last week. It was a huge honor and a great achievement considering the bulk of the people competing for a spot on the exclusive team had a head start on her.

And we’re not talking a few weeks.

Ceruti didn’t pick up a field hockey stick until the summer before freshman year. In the suburbs, field hockey is played in middle school and even younger, so those players come in with at least an idea of how to play.

“It was hard at first, my sister played and she was good, so I watched games, but I never played,” Ceruti said. “It took a while to learn how to play and it would be frustrating at times because it’s hard to pick it up.

“I got called up to varsity late in my freshman year, so I think I started to pick it up either midway or late in my freshman year. That’s when I started to get better and was able to do more things. It took a little while.”

Ceruti was always a good athlete. Growing up, she played lacrosse and softball, so she had good hand-eye coordination and was able to run a lot. But there’s no substitute for experience, and Ceruti admits it was tough playing against players with field hockey pedigree.

And that also made this year that much more satisfying.

Ryan enjoyed a strong year, winning five games during league play and advancing to the Catholic League playoffs. It might not sound like a huge accomplishment, but those who know field hockey were quite happy with the results.

“Teams like us and St. Hubert’s are usually learning field hockey when we get to high school, so I was really proud of the way we played this year,” Ceruti said. “We did really well. We won a lot of games and we played well.

“Our entire defense graduated last year, so we had some younger players back there, but our top line and midfield played together for a long time, so that really helped us. We had experience playing and we knew how to play together. That made a big difference, and I think that was the reason we were so good.”

Another reason was their willingness to get started early.

It’s become a tradition at Ryan for younger players to get a taste of the sport during the summer at practices held by older players.

That’s when Ceruti first picked up a stick, and it carried her to a strong career.

So this summer, as a captain, she carried on the tradition and it helped because when the season rolled around, the younger players had the fundamentals down.

“We do it every year, and I know how much it helped me,” Ceruti said. “It reminded me of how I learned. It was fun to teach them a little bit, but it helped me, too, because we had a great season, and they helped.”

It also helped her earn All-Catholic.

It’s not too common for a city player to be named to the first team in the sport, so according to Ceruti, getting the nod was a pretty big honor.

“I was really excited,” Ceruti said. “My coach told me today in school. I wasn’t expecting it. I wanted it, but I knew there were a lot of good players.”

Next year, Ceruti hopes to play field hockey in college, which is a pretty big change to where she saw herself when she entered Ryan. At the time, she was a lacrosse enthusiast, but since she enjoyed so much success in the fall sport, field hockey is her new love.

“I’ve liked it a lot and this year helped a lot, too,” said Ceruti, who is leaning toward majoring in business. “I always thought I would play lacrosse, but lately field hockey has become my favorite sport.”

It helps when you go out the way she did.

And she’ll always have that goal against Carroll to remember.

“It was a great year,” Ceruti said. “Getting All-Catholic was a great way for it to end, but I loved the whole year.”

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