High-scoring OV senior leads Addy Indy field hockey all star squad

ADDISON COUNTY — Unlike 2015, when Otter Valley and Mount Abraham union high school field hockey teams met in the Division II final and Middlebury won a first-round D-I game, the 2016 field hockey postseason in these parts was relatively brief: Only the defending D-II champion Otters won a playoff contest this time around.
But each team still enjoyed good moments, especially Coach Stacey Edmunds-Brickell’s 8-6 Otters and their high-scoring senior Allison Lowell, who repeats as the Addison Independent Field Hockey Player of the Year.
Lowell leads the 2015 Addison Independent Field Hockey All-Star Team, and two of her teammates join her on the squad.
Meanwhile, five of Coach Mary Stetson’s Mount Abe team earned spots on the Independent team. The Eagles just might have had the best local squad, finishing 6-8-1 after playing 13 of 14 games against D-I competition before losing on the road in the D-II playoffs to the eventual champion, 1-0.
Hurt by major losses from their 2015 lineup, Coach Megan Sears’ Tigers dipped to 3-12, although they were competitive in many games thanks to a strong attack, and they knocked off No. 2 Essex late in the season. Three Tigers are honored here.
Selections were made based on observation, statistics and consultation with the coaches. Congratulations to the following: 
ALLISON LOWELL, OV SENIOR, PLAYER OF THE YEAR. Notes: Tremendous scorer and all-around player who once again led all local athletes with 19 goals, adding three assists … Finished her four-year varsity career with 58 goals and eight assists … Set the OV single-game record this fall with six goals vs. Fair Haven … Has excellent skills and a quick first step to go with poise, a powerful shot and a knack for hitting the corners … Tireless player who hustles and works hard to win the ball.
Edmunds-Brickell’s Quotes: “She had a great season … She just lives the sport, and that shows. It just shows on and off the field. She’s a great leader … She pushes herself. She expects a lot of herself and works hard to get there … Her stick skills, of course, are fantastic … She’s eager to support others … Often she’d be back helping on defense because she can cover so much ground … She’s just a well-rounded hockey player.”
LILY SMITH, MUHS SENIOR. Notes: Dangerous, fast and talented left wing who led the Tigers with 11 goals and tacked on three assists … Had the speed and stick skills to blow past defenders and finish plays, and the vision to set up teammates … Versatile athlete who also saw time at midfield when needed … Determined defender and team leader who never stopped trying to win the ball back and also went deep into the Tiger end to help out.
Sears’ Quotes: “She is a tenacious, aggressive athlete who always knows what to do … She can hustle back and play solid aggressive defense … She has that hunger for the goal … The way she was able to support her teammates defensively was really helpful … The way she was able to transition from a forward to a midfield position was valuable to us … She had that great ability of being humorous and being focused and leading all at the same time.”
ASHLEY TURNER, MOUNT ABE SENIOR. Notes: Tireless two-way center mid and team leader who contributed to the Eagle attack with three goals and five assists … Harassed opposing midfielders and defended well in the Eagle third and circle … Skilled player who could take on opponents one-on-one and make the right passes to set up teammates.
Stetson’s Quotes: “She’s a real strong presence. As she went, we went … Her ability to make people around her better was one of her better qualities … She has a bottomless source of energy … She stepped in and scored some critical goals for us as well as gave some beautiful assists. She sees the field really well … She could maneuver in tight situations … She had strong leadership skills.”
ROBYN ARENA, MOUNT ABE JUNIOR. Notes: Excellent, quick defender with the stick skills and field vision to also step up and play well at midfield at times this season … Primarily a left back who shut down most opposing right wings … Credited with five defensive saves, mostly on penalty corners.
Stetson’s Quotes: “She’s fearless, determined, and just a strong, solid defender … She marks and tackles well … She’s versatile … She can make that transition (to midfield) well … She was a real pivotal person on our penalty corner unit … There were times that teams were already celebrating, and she was celebrating the fact that she took away the goal.”
COURTNEY BUSHEY, OV SENIOR. Notes: Solid all-around player who thrived at center mid after moving from the front line to fill a void for OV … Scored four goals and assisted three more … Set up many more chances and helped key the Otters’ transition from defense to offense … Communicated and defended well.
Edmunds-Brickell’s Quotes: “She scored for us. She assisted for us. She played good defense for us. She moved around the field well … She was smart in how she played the ball … She was able to get the ball up to the front line, and bust back to support the defense when needed … She knew where to position herself … She worked hard to fill that spot, and I think she did a nice job for us.”
LAURA WHITLEY, MUHS JUNIOR. Notes: Tireless, quick center mid who defended relentlessly and moved the ball quickly and well … Broke up many plays as a member of the Tiger defense against opponents’ penalty corners and was a constant defensive presence … Junior tri-captain whose passing sent the Tiger forwards into the attack.
Sears’ Quotes: “She really helped with transition from the defense through the midfield to the forward line … She has speed and composure … She had a lot of on-field leadership. She was a great leader in the heat of the moment in a game … She was a defensive force … She’s a very nice player, and I’m psyched for next year for her.”
JACKIE REISS, MOUNT ABE SENIOR. Notes: Led Mount Abe with six goals and added an assist … Came on strong as the season progressed … Hard to contain with the ball on her stick … Could shoot hard and low and also had a good lift shot … Tough defensive forward and good passer.
Stetson’s Quotes: “She sees the field well … Her ability to pass and move off the ball made her a scoring threat … She has great stick work in tight spaces … She became more aggressive as the season went on … Her ability to pressure the ball made her a stronger offensive player … Once she got ahold of the ball she held onto it.”
EMILY ALDRICH, MOUNT ABE JUNIOR. Notes: Poised sweeper whose work in the defensive circle helped hold the state’s toughest teams to 1.53 goals per game against the Eagles … Made three defensive saves … Smart positional player with the quickness to mark top attackers … Made good decisions and has the skill to carry the ball out of trouble or make crisp passes.
Stetson’s Quotes: “She has strong tackling skills … She knows when to tackle as it comes toward her … She stopped the opposition before they could sustain or generate any shot at goal … She was asked to take the most dangerous player repeatedly and hold the fort, and she did a great job at that. There was not a team we played that didn’t have big-time scorers.”
LEXI BARTLETT, MUHS FRESHMAN. Notes: Made an immediate impact as a freshman in the state’s toughest league, racking up six goals and seven assists … Fast, tireless forward who played aggressively in the circle and saw passing lanes to set up her teammates … Used her stamina to come back and help out defensively and trigger the attack.
Sears’ Quotes: “She was right in front of the goalie ready to score goals, and her stick was always on the ground … She had that want to score a goal … She knew where to dish the ball … Her athleticism definitely was a part of the equation … She also played great man-to-man defense when necessary and wasn’t afraid to get in the defensive circle to help.”
COURTNEY RANDALL, OV SENIOR. Notes: Hard-working defender who enjoyed a strong year at left back frustrating opponents’ dangerous right wings, and also filled in at sweeper … Improved her skills and confidence … Made several key defensive saves … Made good decisions under pressure and had the ability to carry the ball out of danger.
Edmunds-Brickell’s Quotes: “I always had confidence in her when she had the ball … She really knew how to play back there and was very consistent this year … She was just really solid and she believed in herself so much more this year … She pushed herself as hard as anyone on the team … She was so smart in front of the goal … I believed in her ability in front of the cage.”
CHESSLEY JACKMAN, MOUNT ABE SOPHOMORE. Notes: Stopped 121 shots and surrendered 23 goals in 15 games for an .840 save percentage against Vermont’s top offenses … Rangy goalie with quick feet and excellent mobility … Stepped off her line well to clear the ball out of harm’s way … Recorded three shutouts and allowed just one goal six times.
Stetson’s Quotes: “She really blossomed as the year went on … She could initiate play, send us strong clears … She could keep us alive in games, and we had some really tight games … She covers ground, and she’s tall. You’ve got to like that … And she anticipates well. She’s thinking ahead. She’s not just reacting … She was fearless.”
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].

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