Sophomore Devon Scharf is a three sport goalie for Cabrini University and in her first year she won the championship in all three sports. Scharf plays for the field hockey team, women’s Lacrosse and club roller hockey here at Cabrini. She won the Colonial States Athletic Conference championship in both field hockey and lacrosse and won the Pensylvannia Collegiate Roller Hockey championship for hockey.
Winning the Colonial States Athletic Conference’s championship last year in field hockey was one of Scharfs favorite because it was her first of her young career.
“It was the best feeling in the world,” Scharf said. “I just remember that clock going off and my goalie partner and I darted to the goalie that was in the net, and we were like, ‘this is crazy!’ Like, it was— it was the craziest thing I ever experienced.”
“I actually had never won a serious championship before, so coming and winning was the greatest.”
Securing these championships was a colossal accomplishment for Scharf because she’s been an open-heart-patient her entire life. She had her first surgery when she was three days old and has three follow-up surgeries since, the last one occurring this summer.
Scharf admits that her condition holds her back some days. While she doesn’t like having to stop and recover, she knows it is important to put her health first.
“You’ve got to take care of yourself. It does really get to me sometimes. Every once in a while, I get really down on myself and it hits me really, really hard. But, you know, then I realize I’m lucky to be doing what I’m doing.”
Instead of dwelling on her disadvantage, Scharf works even hard to do what she loves.
Scharf feels fortunate to be as healthy as she is and is inspired to push herself to get even better. Though her condition hinders her abilities, she knows it’s her athleticism that keeps her alive and helps her stay healthy.
“Being an athlete, it saved my life. If I wasn’t an athlete, I probably wouldn’t be in the shape that I am today.”
Looking back on her life-long health journey and her athletic career, Scharf is proud of her sports accomplishments. She is humbled and gratified with what she has accomplished, despite the many obstacles.
Club roller hockey is a co-ed sport so therefore Sharf is allowed to play. Scharf is the only girl on the team and reflects on that.
“Honestly, I love being the only girl on the team. I feel like their little sister sometimes. And they take such good care of me. They don’t let anyone touch me, they don’t let anyone come near me— it’s a nice feeling.”
“It’s awesome having her on the team. She’s a great team player and a very talented goalie,” roller-hockey teammate Jack Sanders said. “She’s a multi-sport varsity athlete, so she is definitely in the most shape out of all of us! But we all look out for her, one because she is in that sister role in a sense as well being the goalie so you could say we are a little over protective.”
Scharf started playing ice hockey in 10th grade, which led to her roller hockey career. But at the time, Scharf almost was not able to join.
“It was because of my parents,” Scharf said. “When I wanted to add another sport, they were like, ‘no, because your schedule’s already too crazy. You’re not going to be able to handle it. You can’t say yes to everyone’ And I was like, ‘I can say yes to everyone. Let me play hockey.’”
Scharf fortunately was able to persuade her parents to let her play. Once she joined, she quickly caught on to ice hockey, because it was very similar to lacrosse and field hockey, which she had already been playing for six and three years at that time.
It is funny that she plays on an all-guys team now, Scharf said, because avoiding that was the very reason her parents pulled her out of baseball and introduced her to lacrosse in fourth grade.
When she was younger, Scharf always played baseball and soccer. That was until major league baseball player and close family friend Richie Ashburn told Scharf ‘s parents that while she was good, as she got older, she wouldn’t be able to keep up with the boys.
“So they put me in softball for a year, and I hated it. And I was like ‘screw this. You’re not going to let me play baseball, but there’s no way in hell I’m playing softball,’ so I kind of just went to lacrosse and I fell in love with it.”
Ever since she started playing lacrosse, it has been an important aspect of her life. Scharf has played baseball, softball and soccer; however, field hockey, ice/roller hockey and lacrosse remain her favorites.
“They’re just kind of the ones that I picked up quicker than all the other sports that I played. And they just kind of stuck with me. And I just kept going.”
MaryKate Keenan, Scharf ‘s roommate and lacrosse teammate, admires Scharf because of her commitment to the other players and her own personal perseverance.
“Devon encourages her teammates and always wants the best for them. It is great to play with her because she is always there to help you,” Keenan said. “Devon’s passion for the game makes her a great athlete because it will push her to do her best.”
Scharf loves playing right now, but strives to one day be a physical therapist. The big reason she made this decision is because she wants to repay the athletic community for everything it has done for her.
“I really want to give back to the athletic community, because they’ve given me so much. I had one of my heart surgeries this summer and my doctor actually told me that being an athlete was the greatest thing for me, because of the cardiac shape that it got me into. So I really want give back to the athletic community because of that.”
Scharf is also interested in physical therapy because the flexible schedule would allow her to coach, which is another occupation she is really passionate about.
“I really want to coach lacrosse because I can’t give it up. I already coach club and would love to have my own team one day. I just really like that I can take my knowledge and give it to other kids to help them get better in their game. It’s so rewarding when they listen to you and they do the right thing and they turn around and give you that big smile. It’s worth it.”
Scharf’s lacrosse and field hockey coach, Jackie Neary, said Scharf is a delight to have on the team and that she believes Scharf will make an amazing coach someday.
“I think her involvement in other sports gives her a greater appreciation for all of the teams she plays for. She accepts the diversity of each team and its members. She is a good player because she is a student of each game that she plays and she is also very passionate about her sports. I think she would make a great coach because she is the type of person that would care for each player, and also understands the X & Os of everything she plays.”
Her long time goal is to be a physical trainer and coach, but Scharf is continuing to focus on her performance for now.
“I’m 100 percent better now. I’m so excited to get back. I’m constantly working on conditioning, working on getting bigger, better, faster and stronger. I’m always looking to improve my game. You kind of just have to put your best foot forward and stay positive.”