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Heart of the Cards: Justine Sowry
By Justin Stephens
It is Fahrenheit Friday at U of L Field Hockey’s Trager Stadium. The turf, as usual, is 15 degrees hotter than
anywhere else. As the players jump into the huddle, panting after a demanding practice, they are reminded of why
they put themselves through this daily routine of voluntary torture; to win.
To succeed and to inspire, they want to right the ship from the turgid waters of years past, to prove that this
team is a championship contender and not just another Big East tourney blow off. And who better to steer at the
helm of the S.S. Victory than Head Coach Justine Sowry?
Although a graduate of the esteemed University of South Australia, it is Sowry’s extracurricular work that has
garnered chants of, “Oi, Oi, Oi” from Aussies and Card Nation alike.
A native of Sydney, Autralia, Sowry played for the Australian National Field Hockey team from 1991 to 2001
and was a member of Australia’s 1996 and 2000 Olympic teams. Two Gold Medals hang on her mantel from her
participation in the 1994 and 1998 World Cup.
As a coach of the University of Massachusett’s field hockey team, she posted a 15-8 record in her final season,
including a perfect 7-0 record in A-10 conference play.
She has coached 19 A-10 All-Conference selections, 17 All-Region selections, and five All-Americans as well as
leading the Minutewomen to three conference titles and three NCAA tournament appearances.
She has also served as a USA High Performance Coach with the U.S. Field Hockey Association, USFHA, from
2003-07, as well as an assistant coach with the U.S. National team in 2006, placing sixth in the world games in
After a string of successful stints, Athletic Director Tom Jurich hired Coach Sowry in the winter of 2010 for her
second stint with the U of L women’s field hockey team.
“Justine is an elite competitor and a great player’s coach. She and her outstanding staff will lead us to the next
level,” Athletic Director Tom Jurich said.
She hopes to replicate the success she had the first time around as an assistant coach, rebuilding the program
with then Head Coach Pam Bustin. Coach Sowry has posted winning records and has two Big East tournament
semifinal appearances in her first two seasons at the helm.
“We are still improving, our objective has always been about the process of improving every single day and every
single game that we play and we have to keep achieving the goals that we set for ourselves,” Sowry said.
The head coach continues to emulate this formula for success through her blue-collar credo to her team. “We
believe in the motto of ‘Get it done,’ we’re all about action and accomplishing what we need to.”
Keeping in step with the tradition of U of L sports, the coach does not just preach winning on the field, but off
the field as well.
“We challenge our players,” Sowry said. “We try to teach our players to grow and develop into great student
athletes through adversity.”