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O'Hara grad Siobhan Boylan fitting right in after transfer to Chestnut Hill

11/17/2022, 3:45pm EST
By Jared Leveson

Jared Leveson (@jared_leveson)

Since high school, Siobhan Boylan has wanted to play college basketball at the highest level. 

Hailing from Morton, Pa., she attended Philadelphia Catholic League powerhouse Cardinal O’Hara. Practicing for the Lions and playing against the best girls’ high school teams in Philadelphia game-in-and-game-out placed Boylan on the collegiate basketball path. 

The Comets grassroots basketball product found her stride during the 2019-2020 season, her junior year at O’Hara. She got named to the All-Catholic League and All-Delaware County Second Teams after averaging nine points and two assists per game. 

Siobhan Boylan (above) has jumped right into a starting role at Chestnut Hill. (Photo courtesy Barry Hunsburger/Chestnut Hill College)

Boylan’s success translated into team success for the Lions as they finished with a 20-6 record and a District 12 Class 6A Championship.

The 5-foot-10 wing’s excellent play led her to Division I Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. 

Her Division I experience was fun. She liked her teammates and her coach and even saw game minutes as a freshman. But moving three hours away to a school with 5,000 students compared to the 800-ish students at O’Hara is a difficult transition for anybody. 

Regardless of success on the hardwood, sometimes, the place one chooses to go is not the right fit. Herein lies the beauty of the NCAA transfer portal. 

After spending her freshman season at Marist, Boylan entered the portal and focused her search for a new school around one factor – home. 

She settled on Chestnut Hill College, a small school of around 1,300 students, on a hilltop in the northwestern corner of Philadelphia. 

Chestnut Hill’s women’s basketball program has experienced unprecedented success under fourth-year head coach Jim Connolly. All parties involved thought it was a perfect fit. 

“I got to have a lot of very fun experiences and obviously it’s a very high level,” Boylan said Wednesday night, after scoring a career-high 14 points against Bloomsburg. “I just wanted to go closer to home. So, I ended up leaving. 

“My sister [Maeve Boylan] is in the conference. She goes to Holy Family [and plays volleyball]. So, I figured I’d be close to her.”

Connolly and his staff spotted Boylan as a priority target immediately. 

“She entered the transfer portal,” Connolly recalled after a one-point loss to Bloomsburg on Wednesday night. “We knew she was a local kid. So, we contacted her and she wanted to go to school back closer to home. We had roster spots available, and we reached out.” 

“I had a visit with coach Jim and [senior guard] Lauren [Crim] and they really sold it with how nice they were and how nice the team was and how welcoming everybody was.” 

With the transfer to Chestnut Hill, not only was Boylan only 30 minutes away from home, but the Griffins were returning nearly their whole roster from the 2021-2022 campaign. They had three graduate students, two seniors, one-fifth year, and four sophomores all return. Connolly and his staff added two first-year students as well.

Boylan had played against many of her new teammates at O’Hara. Philadelphia is a big city, but the Philadelphia basketball community is tight-knit.

Crim went to Lansdale Catholic and played against Boylan’s O’Hara team as a senior. She was instrumental in bringing Boylan into the fold. She initiated the warm welcome to Chestnut Hill.  

Boylan played against many of her teammates during her high school years. (Photo courtesy Barry Hunsberger/Chestnut Hill College).

“I think she’s been a great addition so far,” Crim said about her new teammate. “Our team overall is awesome, we have a lot of experience and a lot of people who have been here for almost five years. So, we have really good leadership on our team.”

“I played Lauren my freshman year, but I was sick so I wasn’t there,” Boylan recalled. “I played Emily Sekerek and Morgan Orloski, they went to Bethlehem Catholic and I played against both of them. Emily Chmiel was on my team for a summer league thing.”

“I just think it’s funny that I played against these girls and now we’re all on the same team.” 

With all these returning players, leaders, and familiar faces, it makes sense why Chestnut Hill became an attractive option for Boylan. 

“We all care about each other,” the criminal justice major said. “I think you can really see that on the court.” 

Connolly and Crim both mentioned that Boylan’s induction into the team was as smooth on the court as it was off it. Basketball-wise, the move from Division I to Division II has not been much to adjust for the former MAAC rookie of the week. 

The wing earned those honors in a 61-49 victory over Iona on December 20. Boylan finished with five points, a career-high five rebounds, and registered two assists, one blocked shot, and one steal.

Boylan averaged 11 minutes a game at Marist and started three games against Lafayette, Columbia, and Saint Peters. 

She scored her previous career-high of 13 points against the Leopards. The wing shot three-for-five from beyond the arc, tallied four rebounds, dished out two assists, and recorded a steal in that game. 

“She’s a very good shooter,” Connolly said. “Which is what we like, to have a lot of shooters. She’s got good size and athleticism for a wing so she fits right into what we’re doing. Her teammates have gotten along with her well so it’s been a good fit so far.” 

“Adding her has been awesome because she brings a lot of firepower,” Crim added. 

Chestnut Hill had a back-and-forth shootout against Bloomsburg on Wednesday night. Boylan looked like the best player on the floor for a better part of the game. She knocked down a trio of 3-pointers and flashed an ability to score around the rim during her career-best night, starting and playing 28 minutes for the Griffins (2-1).

The Huskies keyed on her defensively, which allowed graduate student Bri Hewlett to score 15 points of her own. 

Boylan and her team were visibly upset with the 70-69 loss at home. Their poor free throw shooting doomed the Griffins, but they kept it a one-point game when Bloomsburg (1-0) had several opportunities to close the game down the stretch. Hewlett took the final shot on the last possession that fell short. 

The Division I transfer missed some opportunities late in the fourth quarter as well. Although, she remained a steadying presence on the court for the Griffins. The coaching staff trusted her in the clutch and Boylan found herself in a position to make an impact. However, sometimes the ball just doesn’t bounce your way. But that’s basketball.  

“I couldn’t do anything without my teammates,” Boylan said. “Their encouragement helped.”

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