Emma Hurley

School: Upper Moreland

Field Hockey, Basketball, Lacrosse





Favorite athlete: Taylor Moreno

Favorite team: Philadelphia Eagles

Favorite memory competing in sports: Winning my first field hockey game ever and our team’s first in a year

Most embarrassing/funniest thing that has happened while competing in sports:  One time at a basketball game the gym’s speaker wouldn’t play so our team sang the National Anthem. It was the funniest, most off-tune, but coolest performance.

Music on playlist: Zach Bryan, Tyler Childers, Grateful Dead

Future plans: Play lacrosse at Holy Family University and study education

Words to live by: “Fake it till you make it”

One goal before turning 30:  Learn how to snowboard!

One thing people don’t know about me: I can say the alphabet backwards


By Mary Jane Souder


Emma Hurley likes to keep busy.


So after losing her sophomore lacrosse season to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Upper Moreland senior – who also plays basketball - was eager to return to action again. With no sport to occupy her time in the fall, Hurley decided to try her hand at a new one to provide skill work to make up for the time she’d lost in the spring.


“I was also constantly talking to the field hockey coaches because they also coached lacrosse,” Hurley said. “They’d been trying to get me to come out for field hockey all throughout high school.


“I was like - last season got cancelled, so I’ll just try field hockey this season. If I don’t like it, I don’t have to do it again. I ended up loving it.”


That’s not all that unusual but making Hurley’s story unique is that she volunteered to go in goal for a Golden Bear squad that didn’t have a goalie. Granted, she was a lacrosse goalie, but the position is vastly different in the two sports.


“The biggest difference is how the ball is moving,” Hurley said. “The ball isn’t coming at you as fast as it would in lacrosse, but you have to be much more on your feet because the cage is so much bigger. It’s a lot more foot coordination than lacrosse.”


Hurley, according to UM coach Marissa Elizardo, was a natural fit.


“Despite not having a preseason last year, Emma learned quickly and immediately made a statement,” the Golden Bears’ coach said. “After playing her first high school field hockey game, the opposing team’s coach came up and said, ‘Who is your goalie? She was amazing.’


“As a coaching staff, we had a little laugh and then told her, ‘That’s Emma, and she just started playing last week.’”


What made Hurley so good?


“It’s just her attitude about it,” Elizardo said. “It’s not just becoming a goalie never playing before – it’s the fact that she was doing it on a team that was not having a winning record.


“To go in your first year and lose games 6-0, 7-0, 8-0 and still show up each day wanting to get better and being the one encouraging her teammates to keep working and that wins will come eventually we just have to keep at it – that’s something you can’t teach. She just does it on her own.”


Hurley credited her coaches for taking the pressure off and making her transition to a new sport and a new position an easy one.


“Our coaches were amazing with that,” she said. “I have the most respect in the world for coach Elizardo. She played goalie in college, and she took me under her wing right away, so she definitely helped to relieve some of that pressure going into that first game after preseason.”


Field hockey will not be part of Hurley’s future – although she was named this year’s team MVP and earned honorable mention all-league recognition. This fall, the UM senior signed a letter of intent to continue her lacrosse career at the Division 2 level at Holy Family University.


“She’s the heart and soul of a team,” UM lacrosse coach Kim Frantz said. “If you need somebody that can pull a team together and get a team to work together, it’s her.


“She’s the one that can really make a team cohesive, working in the offseason and doing things in the offseason. That’s the kind of kid she is – she’s that really important player on a team that brings the team together.”


The fact that Hurley has type 1 diabetes has not – according to her coaches - slowed her down in the athletic arena.


“You wouldn’t even know she has diabetes,” Frantz said. “There are times when I check in with her - if we have a long day or super hot day. I always remind her because she doesn’t really think about it. It’s definitely on the back burner for her in a good way, not in a bad way.”


 Elizardo echoed a similar refrain, “In the two years I have known Emma, I have never seen her step out of a drill, take a break or use the phrase ‘I can’t.’ The only time Emma ever mentions her diabetes is when she is making a joke about it. Emma has an incredible sense of humor and never takes herself too seriously.”


Hurley, who has an older brother and two younger sisters, grew up in a family that enjoyed sports.


“I feel like we tried everything when we were growing up,” she said. “A few of my siblings played instruments, but that was never really for me. My dad’s always been super sports-minded.”


Hurley isn’t quite sure if cheerleading and dance qualify as sports, but she began dancing when she was two and cheerleading when she was five.


“I danced for nine years and cheered for eight, and in middle school, I started to help coach cheer,” Hurley said. “Basketball was definitely my first favorite sport – I started playing in kindergarten.”


In second grade, Hurley was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.


“I was seven years old, and it’s coming up on 10 years in April,” she said. “I started getting really sick after I would eat, I would get super lethargic, and I’d be drinking a lot of water and going to the bathroom multiple times at night and in the day.


“They sent me down to CHOP, and I was hospitalized for four days the first time. Diabetes runs rampant in my family, so I was definitely familiar with it but not really the ins and outs of it.  It was just kind of a shock to me. I didn’t really understand it. I think needles were definitely the biggest thing to get over, but I’m glad that since then I have.”


Hurley has found a way to ensure that diabetes is bearly an asterisk on her athletic career.


“I think the coaches really come into play a lot with that, and they’re all super supportive of me,” she said. “Sometimes if I feel weird, I’ll go to the locker room and check and do whatever I have to do – maybe eat an orange.


“I got used to it, but it’s definitely a big deal. It’s just my new normal. I don’t want to underplay it, but I have adjusted to it. My parents were deadset when I was diagnosed to make sure it didn’t hold me back from anything.”


It hasn’t.


A three-sport athlete, Hurley is a valued member of the basketball team where she is a fixture in the starting lineup.


“We don’t let the kids play (in the fall league) if they play soccer or field hockey, but she came to most of the games to cheer on her teammates,” UM coach Matt Carroll said. “Last year, there would be times where she would play more than half the game and the next game there would be no matchup (for a second post) and she didn’t get in. She just handled it in stride and never had a ‘poor me’ type of attitude. That’s just the type of kid she is. We have a few of those – they’re the nicest kids, everyone loves them.


“She’s a very selfless, a team-first player. She doesn’t do any of it for praise. She just like, ‘This is the right thing to do so I’m going to do it – I’m going to put the stuff away, I’m going to get the basketballs out. Usually, the kids do it as a freshman, and by the time they’re a senior, they think they’re too big for all that stuff, and that’s never been her. She’s awesome.”


Hurley has been a contributor to the early season success of UM’s basketball team.


“It’s really been great,” she said. “Our team has always been super close, but I think this year being such good friends with the girls outside of basketball has reflected on the court. We can all play off of each other’s strengths. It’s really cool to be able to finish out the sport with my best friends when not every team is fortunate enough to get to play.”



Hurley, a member of the National Honor Society, has a course load that includes AP biology and honors classes. She aspires to one day become a health and physical education teacher.


“Health had always been my favorite subject, and I was thinking of the medical field for a while,” Hurley said. “But seeing how COVID has impacted people in the medical profession, I don’t think that’s for me.


“I’ve always had great relationships with my gym teachers, and that’s something I want to do.”


The standout goalie admits that playing lacrosse at the collegiate level has been something of a surprise.


“I was actually never really interested in playing sports in college,” Hurley said. “I think I definitely knew it was a possibility for me, but I didn’t know if the environment would be right.


“Holy Family kind of just fell into place really nicely. I’m so appreciative how everything came into play.”


According to Frantz, Holy Family is getting a whole lot more than just an outstanding goalie.


“She works hard, she works a lot in the offseason,” the UM coach said. “She’s involved in basketball, but she still has her mind on lacrosse and doing things with lacrosse.


She’s just that positive energy every team needs. She’s a kid that leads by example because she works hard and just her positivity. She’s uber competitive, you can’t take that away. She’ll make you work harder. She’s competitive, but that’s good for everyone on the team too. She’s an all-around great kid. I’m going to miss her a lot.”


Hurley wouldn’t have traded her three-sport experience at UM for anything.


“Honestly, I think Upper Moreland has some of the greatest athletes in the world with support of our teammates,” Hurley said. “Having already a deep connection with most of the girls from classes in general and being able to go on the field knowing they have your back is just an amazing feeling.


“Also I think we have one of the best administrations – trying to get us involved with things and having the best opportunities, whether that’s sports or anything else.”


Every team, according to her hockey coach, needs an Emma Hurley.


“She’s super coachable, she was great as a captain,” Elizardo said. “She was just on top of everything. We did summer practices this year, and field hockey is not her number one sport, but she was there every single week.


“Even if she was the only one, she still showed up. If I could have a whole team of Emmas I would be the happiest coach in the world.”