Korynn Yslava knew she had one last chance to make a great impression. On a plane ride to Florida in mid January to play in a national showcase field hockey tournament, the Gilroy High senior knew if she didn’t put her best foot forward—literally and figuratively—her chances of playing college field hockey would essentially be over.
“It was my last recruiting tournament, and my mom and I had talked it through that if I really wanted to play in college, I needed to go to this tournament,” Yslava said. “I had gone to this same tournament last year, and the amount of exposure you get to college coaches is insane. There are over 100 coaches attending, from D1 to D3. So the whole time I was there I was nervous because I needed to make sure I left everything out on the field. It was my last chance.”
Yslava made the most of her final opportunity. It was no accident that Yslava drew the attention of St. Louis University coach Danielle Baumgardner; after all, the Gilroy High standout had been preparing for the showcase tournament for two months. As the tournament played on, Yslava received comments that people were noticing her. However, it wasn’t until approximately 2 ½ weeks later when Yslava received an email from Baumgardner when Yslava started to gain legitimate hope that her dream of playing for a Division I program would materialize.
The two talked on the phone three days later, and from there Yslava took a campus visit from Feb. 14-17, with Baumgardner sending an offer to Yslava on Feb. 26. During the time from the visit to the offer, Yslava had made up her mind that she would accept if St Louis University offered because the university has a reputable business program, and Yslava plans on majoring in business marketing. It also didn’t hurt that St. Louis University is a Division I program.
“If she gave me a spot on the team I was going to take it, so I accepted the offer on the same day,” said Yslava, who signed her official letter of intent two weeks ago and had a ceremonial signing event at the school’s library last Friday. “When I visited the school, I attended a business class there because school is always my first priority. I made sure they had everything I needed for my school so I can set myself up for my future career.”
Yslava stood out as a playmaker at Gilroy High, utilizing her speed and quick shot from the top of the circle. Yslava’s vision and game awareness have also been a strength of her game in recent years. A couple of days before the signing ceremony, Yslava got emotional as she prepared the final draft for her speech.
“I will probably get the most emotional when speaking about my family because I’m going to miss them so much when I leave for Missouri,” she said. “That will be a very hard one for me to talk about.”
After the high school field hockey season ended, Yslava tried out and made the girls soccer team, the inaugural season on the pitch for Yslava at Gilroy High. One of her teammates from the field hockey team, Olivia Bozzo, encouraged Yslava to try out for the team, which turned out to be a great experience.
“I loved it; it was amazing,” she said. “I met all these girls who were super good at soccer. I’ve always played either field hockey or softball, so playing a different sport was nice and provided a new challenge.”
Longtime Gilroy High field hockey coach Adam Gemar said Yslava’s work ethic is second to none, and when you combine that with her speed, it makes for an athlete who can do great things.
“She’s a super hard worker, has great skill and is super fast,” Gemar said. “She’s a very good communicator and always worked on her game on her own. I feel like Korynn can take her game to the next level for sure.”