By ALEX HALL
CONSIDERING the careers her mom and sister each had with the St. Michael's College field hockey team, Jenna Deschaine (Claremont, N.H./Stevens) admits she feels a certain amount of pressure.
Her mom, Patty Porter Deschaine, a forward, graduated from St. Michael's in 1989 with 99 career points (43 goals, 13 assists) and was inducted into the school's athletic hall of fame in 1994.
Her older sister, Megan, a midfielder, graduated in 2016 with 48 career points (16 goals, 16 assists) and as a two-time All-Northeast-10 Conference selection.
Jenna and Megan played together at St. Michael's for two seasons and in high school at Stevens of Claremont under their mom.
"I've felt that kind of pressure for a long time," Jenna said. "My sister and I in high school would always be competing with each other the same kind of way we did in college. I definitely think there is pressure but I know no matter what my mom and sister are going to be proud of me.
"It's a good pressure, not really a negative pressure that affects me in a bad way."
Jenna, now a senior, is in her second season at St. Michael's without Megan on the team. The sisters still talk frequently about the game, though, and Megan comes to games occasionally.
While Jenna would like to still be playing alongside Megan, her sister's graduation has had far from a negative impact on her performance.
Jenna, a back, was named to the All-NE-10 second team, served as an assistant captain and logged six points (two goals, two assists) last season.
The Claremont product led the Purple Knights in points (11) and goals (five) entering their game against Stonehill on Saturday. She is one of the Purple Knights' three captains this season.
"I love playing with my sister. She's such a great player and we kind of have almost telepathy on the field," Jenna said. "Even though I'd love to have her on the field, I'm glad I get an opportunity to show that I can do similar things that she did, I guess."
Jenna credited her 11 points and five goals entering Saturday, both of which marked single-season career-highs, to putting away her looks from the far post on corner opportunities. While she struggled to score on corners last season, she has not had that problem this year.
"I'm in a similar position I was last year....but I wasn't able to tip a lot of balls home," Jenna said. "This year, I've gained a better sense of how to do that."
Jenna's scoring outburst has not been her only on-field contribution to the team. She also anchors a defensive unit that has a great deal of chemistry after spending the past few seasons playing together.
The Purple Knights, who entered Saturday 4-6 overall and 1-4 in NE-10 play, owned a 2.08 goals against average over their first 10 games.
St. Michael's has not qualified for the NE-10 tournament since 2008, something Jenna and fellow seniors Micaela Hajduk and Jackie Matthews are motivated to change this season. If the Purple Knights can make the conference playoffs, Deschaine feels they have as good a chance as anyone to capture the crown.
"We all want to make playoffs. I think we've wanted that for so long," Jenna said. "And even if we don't, it's matter of getting better. I think our tactical game has improved so much over the past four years and I think we can take a lot of pride in that."
Alex Hall compiles the college notebook for the New Hampshire Sunday News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @AlexKHall.