Otter scorer tops the Independent’s field hockey all-star team
ADDISON COUNTY — This fall an undermanned Otter Valley Union High School field hockey team scrapped all the way to a Division II title. All the Otters deserve tremendous credit, especially considering how few subs Coach Stacey Edmunds-Brickell had to deploy.
But it’s hard to imagine the 12-2-3 Otters claiming that crown without the player who scored roughly two-thirds of the team’s goals, the Addison Independent Player of the Year, junior Allison Lowell.
Lowell headlines the 2015 Addison Independent Field Hockey All-Star Team, on which she is joined by OV’s only senior who is a talented midfielder, plus a key member of OV’s stingy defense.
Coach Mary Stetson’s Mount Abraham squad came oh-so-close to lifting that D-II trophy: The deeper Eagles (6-7-4 against a tougher schedule than OV’s) controlled much of the final vs. the Otters, but couldn’t find the cage. Their depth is reflected here: Five Eagles made the Independent all-star squad.
Coach Megan Sears’ Middlebury group had good moments in its 5-10-1 campaign against its challenging Metro schedule, including a win at D-I semifinalist Mount Mansfield, a tie at Mount Abe and a first-round playoff victory. Four Tigers are honored on the Independent team.
Selections were made based on observation, consultations with the coaches, and statistics. Congratulations to the following:
ALLISON LOWELL, OV JUNIOR, PLAYER OF THE YEAR. Notes: Racked up 22 goals and two assists for a team that scored 32 goals … Scored all four of OV’s playoff goals, including an OT game-winner in the first round and the only goal in the final … Showed a real knack for hitting the corners … Could finish passes or take opponents on one-on-one … Has great eye-hand coordination and rarely, if ever, mis-hit a ball … Fast, strong, skilled, tireless and versatile — also played midfield and often defended other teams’ penalty corners.
Edmunds-Brickell’s Quotes: “She’s a fantastic field hockey player. She has a nose for the goal … She’s calm under pressure when she has an opportunity to shoot, and that works to her advantage … She wants it in the cage … There were games, including the final, where I dropped Allison back to midfield. Now, our job here at the end is to protect, and she did … I could put her anywhere, and she shined.”
TAJAH MARSDEN, MUHS SENIOR. Notes: Fast, talented and tireless central midfielder who excelled in all aspects of the game … Picked up a field hockey stick for the first time three years ago and never looked back … Excellent defender who keyed the team’s transition from defense to offense with her ability to carry the ball with speed and find open players … Created offense with smart passing and finishing ability and contributed two goals and two assists … Twin State team pick.
Sears’ Quotes: “She’s only played field hockey for three years, so it just speaks to her natural athleticism … Her ability to see the field, quickly move the ball up the field, looking so effortless, really was a motivation for our team to get things done … She was a defensive force. She was an offensive force … Her skills were obviously a huge asset to our team, but also her coachability, her personality among her teammates, her willingness to motivate her teammates … She’s very much a competitor.”
DANIELLE BACHAND, MT. ABE SENIOR. Notes: Team leader whose hard work to become a complete player paid off with an outstanding senior season at center middie … Sparked the offensive with smart passing and strong stickwork, moved the ball quickly from end to end, and regularly made critical defensive plays in and outside the Eagle defensive circle … Scored three goals, added three assists and created many more threats … Twin-State team pick and captain.
Stetson’s Quotes: “Danielle came to the season really having developed her individual skills. She really took the time in the offseason … She’s a great leader. Everybody around her, she held them to a really high standard, but did it in a way that kids really responded to her leadership … She had good, solid individual stick skills to get through traffic … She did her darndest to keep us alive in the offensive circle … The way that part of her game (defense) developed in the second part of the season was one of the reasons we were successful down the stretch.”
MAIA EDMUNDS, OV SENIOR. Notes: Two-way central midfielder with crisp stick skills and excellent field vision … Led all local players with 12 assists, most of them to Lowell … Developed her ability to loft the ball and often sprung Lowell loose with aerials off restarts, including for the game-winner in the final … Defended opponents’ corners and received almost all the inserts on OV’s offensive penalty corners … Has the ability take on opponents one-on-one.
Edmunds-Brickell’s Quotes: “Her stick skills are the best on the team … Her aerials developed incredibly in this last year, and she could put the ball pretty much wherever she wanted … Front to back she covered a lot of ground for us. She was strong on both ends … She was just a huge part of our team … She was so reliable back there on defense … She’s reading the field all the time … She loves this sport more than any sport … She feels at home on the field, and I think it shows.”
ASHLEY TURNER, MT. ABE JUNIOR. Notes: Combined speed, skills, grit and energy to make an impact all over the field from her flank midfield position … Came up big when it mattered: Officially picked up just one assist, but was part of the sequences in the Eagles’ only goal in their quarterfinal game and in both their semifinal strikes, and broke up U-32’s final chance in the semi … Another Eagle midfielder with excellent defensive ability.
Stetson’s Quotes: “Ashley grew as the season went on … Her physical stamina is amazing. She’s so fit … She created a lot of opportunities for us … She’s developing a good hard shot. Maybe we’ll exploit that next year … She totally understood that we needed (defense) … She just continued to build her skills and began to execute really well in that role you think of that a midfielder has in just supporting the forwards and keeping offense alive.”
MAKAYLA FOSTER, MUHS SENIOR. Notes: Speedy, skilled right wing who scored four goals, set up five scores, and created many more chances for her teammates with strong runs down the flank and solid serves into the circle … Hard worker who always came back to support her midfield and defense teammates … Three-year starter and Twin State team pick.
Sears’ Quotes: “She had a great sense of when to drop into our defensive end to be an option to get the ball out … She was great working with her inner to create opportunities … There were just so many wonderful ball insertions into the circle … Her speed and her quick reactions to being defended really made her a force … The consistency with which she played in games was really admirable … She was a natural leader and a natural motivator.”
LILY SMITH, MUHS JUNIOR. Notes: Versatile, smart and quick athlete who started on the Tiger front line, but really excelled at midfield both offensively and defensively … Used her speed and anticipation to disrupt opponents and her field vision to read passing lanes and create opportunities for teammates … Chipped in three goals and two assists.
Sears’ Quotes: “She’s a thoughtful player. She made decisions quickly in a game … She always played with a plan. She had a sense of what was happening and had a sense of what to do next, and was able to execute that really well under pressure … She was able to use her speed to get back when we were short on D … She had a great sense of when to support on defense … She was strong in both circles … She was a great all-around teammate.”
ELLIE GEVRY, MT. ABE SENIOR. Notes: Played the Eagles’ hybrid central defense/midfield position that has both defensive and offensive responsibilities, and used her quick feet, game smarts and stick skills to handle both tasks smoothly … Fearless and consistent tackler who broke up many advances before they reached the Eagle circle … Triggered the Eagle transition game with smart decision-making and crisp passing, and stepped into the attack to pick up an assist.
Stetson’s Quotes: “Ellie has good, solid tackling skills. She’s very agile … She doesn’t hesitate to step to any ball … Her individual skills are very solid … She started our attack, essentially … She made some great runs, and I think she has a good quick hit, cleared the ball and got things out of the mix … She played an important role in our penalty corner unit … She’s very smart, knows the game.”
MEGHAN HALLETT, OV JUNIOR. Notes: Speedy, smart central defender who anchored OV’s inexperienced back line … Racked up several defensive saves and helped OV’s defense hold opponents to eight shots on goal in three playoff games … Improved her stick skills and decision-making and helped OV attack with momentum out of the back.
Edmunds-Brickell’s Quotes: “She’s very quick and thinks the play through … She’s smart on the field and a great communicator … She knows how to adjust to changing formations and still serve as a leader in the backfield … Her stick skills are solid … She’s a hard worker. In practice and in games she expects good things from herself and as a result works to achieve … She’s been a dream to have back there. She’s steady and we know we can rely on her.”
MIKAYLA ROBINSON, MUHS JUNIOR. Notes: Came into her own this year as a central defender facing most of the state’s best attackers in the Metro Conference … Showed great anticipation and one-on-one defensive ability and used her quickness to support her defensive teammates … Developed composure, communication skills and the ability to pass the ball or dodge while under pressure … Excelled reading and defending opponents penalty corners … Made two defensive saves.
Sears’ Quotes: “She is quick. She just bursts through most defensive situations and 99 percent of the time has the ball … She worked well without our other defenders to get the ball out of our defensive zone … She as the season went on became a really great communicator … Her ability to just keep her feet moving and keep her stick down helped alleviate some of those penalty corners called against us …Her growth as a player over the last two seasons is really nice to see.”
EMILY ALDRICH, MT. ABE SOPHOMORE. Notes: Fast and talented defender whose growth at sweeper helped the Eagles go from a 2-5-0 record and 10 goals against in their first seven games to a 2-1-4 record and seven goals against in their next seven games … Learned quickly how to position herself within the team concept and when playing one-on-one when to jab and when to block tackle … Showed poise and could carry the ball out of trouble and made two defensive saves.
Stetson’s Quotes: “She actually I think started to control the middle in terms of when to make the tackle and when to force play and delay play. Those decisions are really hard to make in her position … She was the fly on penalty corners, so she was very fearless, and gets herself into good positions defensively … She was not afraid to keep the ball right on her stick … She’s a quick defender, very quick.”
DANIELLE MORSE, MT. ABE SENIOR. Notes: Agile, quick goalie whose leadership helped steady the rebuilt Eagle defense … Allowed 14 goals while stopping 92 shots and many times cleared the ball out of danger … Particularly poised and effective during goalmouth scrums … Made some jaw-dropping saves, preserving a tie at CVU by batting a ball away while lying on the ground, and in the semifinal preventing U-32 from taking the early lead by diving to knock away a point-blank shot.
Stetson’s Quotes: “She had to take on the role of really being in charge this year, and she did a really nice job of being in charge of the defense and communicating and making that group gel as a unit … I think that was a big asset … Her mobility was a huge asset, and her flexibility … She’s agile … Her goal-against percentage was pretty low.”
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].