By CHRIS MACKOWIAK
No. 23 Arielle Johnston
Salisbury field hockey sophomore midfielder
Hometown: Crisfield, Md.
On any given night, Johnston is a formidable force for the Salisbury field hockey team both on defense and on penalty-corners. The Crisfield, Md. native saw immediate playing time for the Sea Gulls as a freshman, starting in all 20 games last season on the way to a National Semifinal appearance. The defensive midfielder also contributed four goals and one assist to the offense in 2016.
This season Johnston has started in all games so far this season and has scored two goals through the first six games. With many penalty-corner chances coming Salisbury’s way, Johnston leads the team with 24 shots, including 13 on-goal. The emerging defensive star goes ‘under-the-feathers’ with The Flyer to find out more about the player’s journey to the maroon and gold.
Q: What made you choose to come to Salisbury?
Johnston: “Well, originally I was looking at Liberty. I wasn’t looking at any Maryland schools. Things kind of fell cold with that. Starting around the summer before my senior year [of high school], I started looking at Maryland schools because it was going to be cheaper. I visited a couple, but I knew [assistant] Coach [Brooke] Tapman through club. She got me talking to Salisbury. Just looking at all the options Salisbury provided like study abroad, my major, a good opportunity to play close to home so my community could still support me. It just all fit together really well.”
Q: What is your major, any minors?
Johnston: “I’m a community health major. I haven’t declared any minors yet, but I want to minor in psychology and Spanish.”
Q: What do you enjoy about being a Salisbury University student?
Johnston: “My freshman year I got to go abroad for Spanish. So, I really like that SU provides a lot of opportunities for students because that’s something that’s not common, but I got to do that already.”
Q: Where did you go for your study abroad?
Johnston: “I went to Ecuador for the winter abroad. I took Spanish class there and spent New Year’s there. It was about three to four weeks long.”
Q: What do you love about being a part of the SU field hockey program?
Johnston: “I love tailgating after our home games. Our parents that put that on, they do an awesome job at making sure we’re well-fed. It’s probably one of my favorite things.”
Q: As a freshman in 2016, what did you learn from the graduating senior class?
Johnston: “They had an incredible work ethic. That was definitely the number one thing I took from them. I think about that all the time. They were also tight knit in themselves, but also tried to include everyone else and make sure that everyone felt like they were part of the team for the freshmen all the way through the seniors. They were just leaders by example.”
Q: What is your favorite music to listen to, or to get ready for game-time?
Johnston: “I have a playlist I listen to before I walk over to the stadium. It has some rock on it. Anything that has positive words that empower you, that’s what I try to keep listening to before the game; to keep thinking positive.”
Q: What is your favorite food, or something you like to eat before or after a game?
Johnston: “Recently, I’ve been eating PB&J’s before a game. The three hours before, I eat a PB&J.”
Q: The important question, what kind of jelly?
Johnston: “Strawberry jelly. My mom makes it homemade and that’s really good.”
Fans can catch Johnston back on the field with SU when the team hits the road on Saturday to face TCNJ in a top-four nationally ranked match-up.