Over her first two years with the Stuart Country Day School field hockey team, Amy Hallowell helped anchor the Tartan backline.
This fall, junior Hallowell has moved up to the midfield and is taking a greater role in the Stuart attack.
“I am more offense-minded this year,” said Hallowell. “I like putting the ball off to both sides and getting it to people. Whenever I can help get them get it up the field, I like to do that.”
With Hallowell making plays all over the field, Stuart battled Steinert to a 1-1 overtime tie last Friday to move to 3-8-1 on the season.
While Stuart came excruciatingly close to a win as it held a 1-0 lead until the Spartans scored with 20.3 seconds left in regulation, Hallowell was pleased with the brand of hockey displayed by the Tartans.
“I think we let up a little at the end but we worked hard throughout the entire game,” said Hallowell.
“It was a good game and we played with a lot of intensity. Both the defense and offense played really well. We worked well together today so that was good.”
Hallowell likes the work Stuart is getting from its crew of freshmen as it has gone 2-3-1 in its last six games.
“The freshmen are working hard at practice and everyone is working hard to better themselves,” asserted Hallowell. “The entire team has improved so much.”
Utilizing the experience she has gained by starting since her freshman year, Hallowell has given the younger players some reinforcement on the field.
“I just give them tips on positioning,” said Hallowell. “If I see something that may help them out with their individual skills I will point it out. Usually they keep learning and practicing things.”
Over the years, Hallowell learned a lot from her older sisters, Kristi and Ani, who both starred for the Tartans.
“I think over the years they guided me into the right positions,” said Hallowell.
“I am so used to them telling me to back up or to go here and mark this person. I learned from them and I always try to do it like they did with a positive attitude.”
Stuart head coach Missy Bruvik saw a lot of positives in her team’s performance against Steinert.
“We did a great job putting the ball from the back to the middies; we transitioned beautifully against a big, strong team,” said Bruvik, whose team took a 1-0 lead on a goal by freshman Elena Bernewitz with 28:20 left in regulation.
“They always have good athletes and I thought we did a good job of controlling the ball and giving our attack an opportunity to put it in during the first half. As long as we continued to do that, we would make something happen in the second half.”
The Stuart defense also did a good job, looking coolheaded for most of the afternoon.
“The backs really held their own today and that is something that we worked on yesterday, not panicking, knowing where to go and marking tighter,” said Bruvik, noting that the Spartan goal came off a well-placed long ball. “Near the circle, you’ve got to mark, you can’t just contain.
Hallowell certainly made her mark for the Tartans. “Amy is relentless,” said Bruvik. “She was absolutely exhausted at some points of this game; she gave her whole heart.”
Stuart’s group of freshmen have been showing a lot of heart as they have adjusted quickly to the varsity level.
“They are players; they just go out and play,” said Bruvik, whose corps of newcomers includes Catherine Donahue, Tori Hannah, Julia Maser, and Sam Servis in addition to Bernewitz.
“They are learning through the drills but also they are playing against tough competition. They are learning how to fight back and be more aggressive. In these types of games, they play through it.”
With its steep learning curve, Stuart is hoping it can be a sleeper come tournament time.
“We keep playing good solid, competition; teams in this area that I know are doing well,” said Bruvik, whose team plays at the Blair Academy on October 10.
“The players know what is right and what is not right and they know how hard they need to work. They have been so dedicated, all of them.”
Hallowell, for her part, is confident about the team’s prospects, both in the short term and long term.
“I think if we put our minds to it we can definitely do some damage in the tournaments; it will all depend on how everyone works together everyday,” said Hallowell. “I think both the rest of this season and next year are going to be great.”