Huk (center) poses with her teammates during the River Hawks’ first practice of the 2017 season. (Courtesy of UMass Lowell Athletics)
Torrie Huk, a field hockey player at UMass Lowell, loves what she does.
She loves playing field hockey. She loves being around her teammates. She loves her family, her dogs Phantom and Trooper, the coaching staff at UMass Lowell, and the children she has coached and wants to work with after college.
The things she does are heavily rooted in involvement, commitment and love. Her decision to play Division I field hockey at UMass Lowell stemmed from the opportunity to continue her field hockey career and “do something that [she] love[s].”
Huk, a junior forward/midfielder who wears the number 25 for the River Hawks, has 54 points in 43 career games for UMass Lowell. Out of those 43 games, she has started 39 times. A leader both on the field and off, Huk has emerged as one of UMass Lowell’s most formidable players in the new Division I era.
But it almost did not happen. When one of her brothers got cancer in high school, Huk refused to go to school, and she instead wanted to stay with him. Huk’s brother insisted she go to school and was a major factor in her decision to go to college. Her brother later recovered, and his strength and determination continues to inspire her.
“I just… kind of play for him now,” Huk said.
Huk’s strong bond with her family has shaped her entire life. All three Huk children have played sports at the collegiate level; one of her brothers plays golf and the other plays Division III baseball.
“Everything’s a competition, even to this day,” she said.
Huk is a person who follows her heart. She initially came to UMass Lowell majoring in business supply team management but switched to psychology, which would allow her to study working with children.
Huk says that she was inspired to work with children as either a teacher or coach from being around her mother’s daycare.
“I’ve always loved kids. I’ve always been involved with coaching when I was younger. I just kind of always gave back. My mom used to have a daycare and I just loved it,” Huk said.
She began to coach when she was 16 when she was in U16 field hockey and coaching U14 teams. The connection was immediate.
“It’s an adjustment, but if you’re coaching something you love, it comes naturally,” Huk said.
Her choice to play field hockey at the collegiate level was decided in a similar way. In high school, she also played softball competitively up until her sophomore year. Huk says that her love of being in a close team environment pushed her to specialize in field hockey.
“Field hockey is 100% a team sport. You’re either with each other on the field or you’re not… I just love… being involved with the team, stuff like that,” Huk said.
It is through her devotion to her teammates and her scoring touch that she has earned a leadership status on the River Hawk squad. And like many other things in her life, she loves it. One of her favorite things about her team is that all of the players are from different areas and backgrounds and how the sport has brought them together and given them memories they will cherish together.
Huk says that this year she and the team are looking forward to UMass Lowell hosting the America East tournament. They are determined to qualify and make it past the first round; Huk says that the home field advantage and support system that her fellow student-athletes give is thrilling.
And for anyone wondering whether Huk struggles with any pressure, the answer is a no. “I usually just play… I don’t really let things get to me at all,” she said.
The field hockey team plays with equal parts passion and determination. This year, they are 4-1 with a little over one month to go until the tournament. Following their thrilling victory over Georgetown on Friday Sept. 8, the River Hawks find themselves on a three-game win streak to top it all off.
Huk believes that this could be a great year for UMass Lowell field hockey, and also wishes that more people would come to games. The narrative that Huk and her teammates spin on the field makes for an awe-inspiring show.
“When [people] think of our team, they think of urgency, grit and heart… we obviously weren’t the best team in the nation so we had to grow, we really play with heart. I think this year we’re really starting to prove that.”