Erb-an Legend

As an all-state defender, Beth Erb has played a key role for Charlotte Country Day’s undefeated (8-0) field hockey team this fall.

Beth Erb has always known that she wanted to play sports in college, and all along figured she would be pursuing a basketball scholarship. However, as the Charlotte Country Day star begins wrapping up her senior season, the success she’s had in another sport is making her choice increasingly harder.
And to further complicate things, Erb is drawing the attention of college recruiters in both sports eager for her to decide her future.
Erb’s always been a basketball standout and, until last season, was sure she was destined for a college career on the hardwood. But the more she thought about it, and as her knowledge grew, she realized that field hockey might have the slight edge – at least now that it’s field hockey season.
“I’m in love with field hockey,” the said the senior defender, who’s helped the Bucs start this season with an 8-0 record. “I’m so glad that my coaches got me into it, and I’ve learned so much from them and my teammates.”
Bucs’ field hockey coach Lisa Thompson said she saw potential in Erb because of her competitiveness and athleticism. When she convinced Erb, who it turned out wasn’t a very tough sell, to join the team as a sophomore, it was immediately evident that Erb was a quick study.
At first, Erb was a goalkeeper, which she quickly picked up since she’s also the Bucs’ soccer goalie during the spring. Playing in the net also suited Erb because she admittedly didn’t know all the rules and nuances of field hockey.
“Sometimes the referee would blow the whistle, and I wouldn’t know why,” Erb said. “It was easy to let the action come to me, but I didn’t know what the problem was most of the time.”
But as time went on and her knowledge improved, so, too, did her skills and her desire to move into the field. By the end of her sophomore year, Erb was playing defense and excelling in the field. The next season, she was an all-state selection and a first-team member of South Charlotte Weekly’s 2011 Field Hockey Super Team.
Erb, who’s also an all-state basketball player, was surprised by her junior campaign.
“I was shooting for the all-state basketball (honor),” Erb said. “But I guess I just didn’t think they had an all-state field hockey team. I was shocked.”
While Erb was surprised, Thompson wasn’t.
“Every day she shows up with such a high level of commitment, discipline and focus,” Thompson said. “She brings all of that every day. She is so consistent and such a hard worker.”
Country Day girls basketball coach Andre Haston agrees. He said she occasionally practices with the boys team and often tries to convince him to open the gym on weekends so she can work on her shot.
While Erb plays defense in field hockey and rarely gets the chance to score, in basketball scoring is what she does best. After averaging 13.6 points as a sophomore, the 5-foot-6 guard improved her scoring to 20.5 points last season, despite drawing constant double teams and box-and-one defenses designed to slow her down. But nothing worked.
Haston said during a holiday tournament last December that an opposing coach from a South Carolina high school asked Haston to point Erb out to him. The coach told Haston that everyone he’d talked to about the Bucs raved about Erb, and he wanted to see for himself.
“I said ‘Sure, I’ll show her to you. The question is how are you going to stop her?’” Haston recalled.
Haston said the best part about Erb’s high-scoring game is that she’s never out of control or hoisting shots from all over the court.
“What she does is all natural,” he said. “It’s never out of the flow of the offense, and she can score so easily and in so many ways that sometimes I just let her do her own thing. Sometimes it’s really easy to just let her go.”
Erb has always been an athlete and said playing so many different sports has helped her. She grew up as a year-round swimmer, which she eventually gave up because its season conflicted with her love of basketball. After playing tennis throughout middle school, Erb gave in to field hockey. And she’s always been a soccer player. But no matter what sport she is playing, Erb said that while most everyone doesn’t like to lose, she really hates it, thanks to her upbringing and family life.
Erb’s parents, John (Providence Day) and Monica (Country Day), are athletic trainers at rival schools. Erb is the youngest of four children — Katie (a 2009 Providence Day graduate), Richie (Providence Day Class of 2010) and Bryan (Country Day Class of 2012) all came before her. She said that while growing up, there was always a game going on at her house.
“I am too competitive in everything,” Erb said. “Growing up, we would always get into fights because no one wanted to lose, no matter what we were doing. We couldn’t finish a game unless there was a fight because everyone wanted to win so bad. That is where my competitiveness comes from.”
Her coaches believe the same competitive fire that makes her an individual standout also makes her a good teammate.
“Beth is just a great all-around kid,” Haston said. “She is a great student-athlete and is a leader on and off the court. She has great character and always has a smile on her face. She is passionate about what she does, and she is easy to manage. She is a coach’s dream.”
Haston said other coaches in the Charlotte Independent Schools Athletic Association respect Erb and they pushed hard for her to make the all-state team in basketball despite the Bucs’ 9-15 record last season.
“That says a lot,” Haston said. “She is somebody people rally around.”
Haston said Erb had a great showing on the AAU basketball circuit this summer and has been getting recruiting interest from a number of Division II and III programs. Meanwhile, Erb said the Appalachian State field hockey coaches recently contacted Thompson to ask about her, so there’s a chance that is the road she eventually takes because she loves the campus in Boone and would like to be a Division I athlete.
No matter where she ends up attending college, and what sport she plays when she gets there, Thompson is confident that Erb will be an asset to any team.
“She gets better every week,” Thompson said. “When you are as good of an athlete as she is and have the vision and technique down, the (field hockey) stick work starts to catch up with it and gets even better.
“The best part is she can see how much she’s improving, and it’s all really exciting. I’m glad she came out for the team, and I’m sure she will have a great college career.”
The question is: In which sport?

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