One of Boston University field hockey’s most potent duos established their lifelong friendship well before sharing the New Balance Field turf.
When freshman Miya Denison set foot on the BU home field for her first collegiate field hockey match, she was more confident than most athletes making their Division 1 debut because she was already playing with a familiar face.
Junior Kara Enoch, a familiar teammate, helped Denison immediately make an impact.
They played two years together for 2011 National Field Hockey Coach of the Year Wendy Wilson at Yorktown, Virginia’s Tabb High School and joined forces on the club field hockey circuit for three years. They met on the club circuit during Denison’s freshman year at a private high school.
“It’s kind of like having an older sister on the team,” Denison said. “It made the transition easier.”
Before finding comfort in sharing the field with each other, Denison was slightly intimidated by her older teammate.
“I was scared of her as any underclassmen is to an upperclassmen,” Denison said.
But Enoch was quick to jump in to support Denison.
“She was my forward,” Enoch said. “We grew a connection because I would look up and always find Miya.”
Denison started playing field hockey in the eighth grade and verbally committed to BU during her sophomore year of high school. She attended private schools until her sophomore year before deciding to transfer to Tabb.
One hitch, though. Similar to NCAA transfer rules, the Virginia High School League forces students who switch schools to sit out one year. Denison grew as a player through club play but said she was sad to miss out on the high school season.
“It was terrible because I knew a lot of girls on the [Tabb] team already,” Denison said. “It was painful watching them do so well and I just wasn’t able to be part of it.”
“It sucked. It sucked not having her,” Enoch added.
Without the option to play for Tabb during her sophomore season, Denison opted to play for the USA field hockey U19 club league, Focus. The team represents the Williamsburg, Virginia region and upon Denison’s arrival, future Terrier teammate Enoch was one of the star players.
They immediately fostered a tremendous connection which helped the Bengals. As BU commits, they said they loved playing together.
“It was kind of like friend goals,” Denison said about playing in high school with a teammate she would share the field with in college.
The BU field hockey program embraces a family culture, something that both Enoch and Denison said swayed them to the university.
When asked to describe the other, Denison described Enoch as intense, a trait easily discernable from her play.
“No matter what they do they’re going to go out there and do it 110 percent,” Focus head coach Quan Nim said. “They’re so competitive that they want to constantly learn from each other.”
Even though the timelines have been a few years off, the two have blazed similar paths since beginning their careers at Tabb.
Enoch and Denison participated in the U19 and U17 Team USA camps respectively
Enoch earned the 2014 Virginia state player of the year award, Denison received the same nod two years later. Enoch used her similar high school experiences to mentor Denison before the younger player arrived at BU.
Enoch committed to BU as a junior at Tabb, and Denison committed when she was a sophomore. Dennison played on
“Such a coincidence,” Denison said.
Enoch and Denison are the only two players from the Focus program to don the scarlet and white.
They said that they often met at home during Enoch’s breaks when she was a freshman and a sophomore, and Enoch helped to prepare Denison for playing at BU.
“I wanted to make sure that I told Miya as much as I could tell her about coming because it is hard as a freshman to come in and not know anyone,” Enoch said. “I tried my best to keep her informed without giving away the fun.”
Enoch returned this season to the Terriers as the team’s leading goal scorer after scoring five goals in her sophomore campaign.
Midway through the 2017 slate, Denison is tied for second on the team with three goals. Enoch has tallied one goal and three assists thus far and continues to lend her former high school and club teammate a helping hand, as one of Denison’s assisted goals came from Enoch.
More importantly, they remain friends.
“[In] one of the first tournaments we played together, two of my most memorable goals were assisted by [Enoch],” Denison said about their first high school experiences together. “Being here [at BU] has made us closer.”
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article had Enoch and Denison playing on the same U19 team. It has been updated to reflect the change.