Dom Farrace has shined as the starting goalie for Salisbury University’s field hockey team. Farrace has allowed just three goals while recording 10 saves, boasting a 0.55 goals against average through six starts.
Farrace’s success began long before her time with Salisbury, but just over thirty minutes away from campus.
Farrace played high school field hockey at Pocomoke High School. She was thrown into the fire in the cage, as this was her first experience playing field hockey.
She quickly fell in love with the sport and began devoting more and more time to improving her game.
The Warriors made a historic run when they captured the MPSSAA 2015 1A State Championship in Farrace’s junior season. She collected several honors in her senior campaign, including Bayside South Goalkeeper of the Year, while allowing just over two goals per game on the year.
Pocomoke High School’s field hockey team was forced to part ways with Farrace, their star goalie and a team leader, when she graduated from the school in 2017. She would not stray far from home, though, joining Salisbury University’s field hockey team the following year.
Farrace said that the atmosphere of the team and the campus were main factors in her decision to attend Salisbury University.
“Just being here on this campus really gave it the family feel, like Pocomoke High School had,” Farrace said.
Farrace began her collegiate career sitting behind established goalie Tressie Windsor for the 2017 season.
Windsor finished her impressive college career with a strong senior performance, recording a 0.81 GAA in the campaign while making 67 saves.
Head coach Dawn Chamberlin said the time sitting behind Windsor helped her grow as both a player and a leader for Salisbury.
“Dom came in playing behind one of the best goalkeepers in the country, so she got an opportunity to work hard and see what it was gonna take to play at that level,” Chamberlin said.
The 2017 season ended in a 2-1 overtime loss to Trinity College in the NCAA Tournament. Going into 2018, Farrace was named the starter in goal for the Sea Gulls.
Farrace had large cleats to fill with the departure of Windsor. She met all these expectations and more in her sophomore season.
Starting 19 games for the Sea Gulls, Farrace posted a 0.64 GAA with 50 saves and seven shutouts on the season. Salisbury finished the season with a 17-3 record, going 5-0 in the Capital Athletic Conference.
However, the season carried a bitter end for both Farrace and for the Sea Gulls.
After a convincing overtime win over Washington & Jefferson College in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, Salisbury faced off against Tufts University. A victory would have sent the Gulls to the national championship weekend.
The two defenses showed out, as the game went scoreless for 90 minutes of play. The game went to a shootout, with the Jumbos ultimately taking the win.
The Sea Gulls came into 2019 ranked seventh in the National Field Hockey Coaches Association Preseason Poll. Chamberlin has a strong core of veteran leadership to lean on going into this year, with most of them gaining experience from last year’s tournament exit.
Chamberlin said that in addition to her on-field abilities, Farrace’s leadership has helped push the team forward as a whole.
“She’s coming in here as one of the top-ranked goalies in the country, and she hasn’t let us down yet,” Chamberlin said. “Not only is she doing what she needs to do on the field, she’s also been a really strong leader, and that just makes her a better player overall.”
Farrace ranks 12th in Division III with a 0.55 GAA through six games this season. She also ranks 30th in D-III with a 0.818 save percentage.
Chamberlin said that having Farrace’s ability to relay what she sees on the field helps the Sea Gull defenders be more attuned to the game as well.
“She’s the anchor of our defense,” Chamberlin said. “She’s vocal, she sees the field and she’s able to communicate what needs to be done.”
The Salisbury defense has had an impressive season so far, as it has allowed just three goals through six games and has not allowed more than one goal in game.
Farrace credits her defenders for helping her develop as a player and become the goalie she is today.
“It wouldn’t be the same without my defenders. They help me through the week and push me to save the hard shots and even the basic shots,” Farrace said.
The best athletes tend to follow a routine when getting prepared for game day. Farrace is no different, and she said that this helps her get mentally prepared for each new opponent.
Farrace also said that going beyond practice to get extra reps on the field has helped her grow in the position and be more prepared physically to handle each contest.
“Prepping throughout the week, I make sure I have a routine, like eating the same things, even coming out early during practice if I’m not feeling warmed up or ready and get in some extra work,” Farrace said.
The Gulls currently sit atop the Capital Athletic Conference with an undefeated record. The offense has started the year in a rhythm as well, currently averaging four goals per game.
As the season progresses, Farrace hopes to continue helping Salisbury hold down opposing offenses and growing her role as a team leader. She said if the team continued to play together as a unit, then the results would work themselves out.
“Personally, I want to get as many shutouts as possible, but also just being a team player and pushing the girls on the field,” Farrace said. “I think we need to be as close as possible and really just play as hard as we can on the field together.”
By NICK LEWIS
Featured photo: Marshall Haas image.