Gazette Field Hockey Player of the Year 2021: Meghan Carey, South Hadley

Tara Cole has coached the field hockey team at South Hadley High Shool for over a dozen years. During this tenure, she has seen a number of exceptional athletes come and go. But junior Meghan Carey is one that will have a lasting impact.

“I’ve been in charge of the South Hadley field hockey team for 16 years now and she’s an athlete that will stay with me forever,” Cole said. “It’s a pearl. You don’t get many like that in your coaching career, it’s just the whole thing.

Carey is an exceptional athlete and a multi-sport athlete as well. She also plays basketball and lacrosse. But she came to field hockey relatively late in her playing career, not picking up a field hockey stick until seventh grade. It was one of her older sisters, Abbie, who first took up the sport and ultimately motivated Meghan to join.

“I saw how much she loved it and loved the sport and how many friends she had made. So I really wanted to try it out for myself,” Carey said. “She really encouraged me to play and helped me, and I really appreciated that.”

Field hockey, as a sport, can be difficult for newcomers to master quickly. An extremely technical game, it requires a lot of technique and skill that can take some time to develop. Despite these struggles, it was clear early on that Carey was going to be something special on the court. Although she admits learning the game was far from easy, just a year after she started playing, she was already playing on the high school junior varsity team as an eighth grader. That same season, she was called up to train with the South Hadley varsity team.

“Even during (her JV) season, myself and the other coaches recognized her prowess on the court and invited her to continue training with us when we made the playoffs that year, knowing that ‘she would never see a minute of playing time because she was only an eighth grader, but recognizing how important it would be to her, as a leader, a future leader, that the team knew what it was. is to continue playing in November,” said Cole.

This proved extremely helpful for Carey, who not only found a place to continue honing her skills, but teammates who welcomed the young player with open arms.

“They were so welcoming, so supportive. Our team in general loves the relationships and team bonding so much,” Carey said upon joining the varsity team. “I train with them and help them prepare for this season. It really pushed me and challenged me to become a better, faster and more skilled player.

It shouldn’t have been easy for Carey, joining a team full of juniors and seniors when he was just an eighth grader and someone still learning the ins and outs of a new sport to start. But that’s what makes Carey such a dangerous field hockey player – overcoming those challenges is what she loves most about the sport.

“I love the challenge, I loved being challenged. Learning something new, it’s always hard at first trying to figure out the mechanics and some skill work that you have to do,” Carey said. . “But once you get the techniques and stuff, it becomes second nature once you learn more complicated stuff, I loved anything that involved the sport.

As she got older, Carey quickly rose to a leadership role on the varsity team. A natural athlete who is both quick and brave, she also focused on learning and developing new skills, adding increasingly complicated moves to her toolbox. Her speed and tenacity were the two things that Cole said made Carey one of the deadliest players on the court, and she also pointed out that she also thought the game was at an extremely high level.

“She’s got really good vision on the court, which you don’t often see in this caliber with as young as she is,” Cole said. “She’s been in the sport for less than five years, but there are times when she’ll come out…and she’ll tell me about some of the things she sees on the field. Sometimes athletes come out and say things, and the coaches will take it with a grain of salt, but if Meghan tells me she sees something there that I miss or could change the way the game goes, that definitely stops us and we listen.”

Field hockey stars

FIRST TEAM

Samantha Brenan, junior, Holyoke

Emily De Maio, senior, Frontier

Charlotte Henning, junior, Smith Academy

Gabi Moroney, senior, South Hadley

Olivia Labrie, junior, Hampshire

Kaitlyn Lynes, senior, South Hadley

Abigail Olden, junior, Belchertown

Charlotte Ribe, senior, Northampton

Lila Roche, Junior, Frontier

Ashley Scott, junior, South Hadley

Makena Valentine, senior, Smith Academy

SECOND TEAM

Silvia Bastek, junior, Hampshire

Isabelle Cebula, junior, Belchertown

April Hurley, senior, South Hadley

Mikaila Joyner, junior, Hampshire

Alexis Katz, junior, Northampton

Caitlin MacDougall, senior, Amherst

Bailey McCoy, senior, Smith Academy

Molly O’Donnell, Freshman, Holyoke

Eliza Rothstein, junior, Belchertown

Abbie Sierzego, senior, South Hadley

Hadley Szynal, junior, Smith Academy

HONORABLE MENTION

lauren cooper, junior, Belchertown

Maeva Eight, senior, Frontier

Lily Provost, junior, South Hadley

McKenzie Schreyer, junior, Amherst

Sarah Wojnarowski, senior, South Hadley

Elyssa Wrona, senior, Belchertown

Catherine J. Martinez