A versatile defensive player and encouraging teammate, Andover Girls Hockey Co-Captain Sarah Rigazio ’18 has valued teamwork since the age of four, when she started playing pond hockey with her family and learned the impact of teamwork both on and off of the ice.
Rigazio said, “I began skating when I was four with my family, playing pick-up games on the pond, which was really fun. I think [this] was a great way to learn how to play because I was surrounded by family, and everyone loved it so much, so it made [me] love [the game] too.”
Rigazio has consistently added value to the team through her strong defensive work and her skilled passing. According to her teammates, she is an intelligent player with exemplary game sense.
“She definitely contributes a lot to the team dynamic on and off the ice. She is an awesome defensive presence on the ice and a good vocal presence on the ice as well, which is very helpful,” said Co-Captain Charlotte Welch ’18. “Sarah is a very good leader because she is very aware of everything going on around her, including social dynamics and team dynamics on the ice and off the ice. She makes a very conscious effort to make sure that everything is going well in terms of inclusivity and work ethic.”
Rigazio’s commitment to her teammates is also showcased through her open communication with other players, including constructive feedback.
“My teammates at Andover are the best teammates that I could have ever asked for because they are such great people and because they are awesome players, too. If I mess up on a drill in practice or I’m not going as hard as I want to be going in practice, my teammate will tell me that and say, ‘Come on, elevate your game. Pick it up.’ We hold each other accountable… and that makes us all so much better. It’s like an agreement we made at the beginning of the season: hold each other accountable for always giving our best,” said Rigazio.
According to Elizabeth Welch ’18, Rigazio provides a good balance of having fun and focusing on the game.
Elizabeth Welch wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “She always keeps up the energy on the bench, in the locker room, and on the ice, and this always keeps us having fun in practice and giving it our all in games.”
According to Rigazio, she and Co-Captain Charlotte Welch fill different yet harmonious leadership roles. While Charlotte Welch leads primarily by example, Rigazio serves as more of a vocal leader on the team.
Rigazio said, “I think that Charlotte does an incredible job of leaving by example in the way that she plays because she practices 110 percent, plays 110 percent all of the time, so she’s a really great leader by example. I’m more of the vocal leader. I’m always trying to encourage my teammates. Especially when people are getting tired and it’s the middle of a really tough game, I always try to be vocal and supportive and cheering.”
Rigazio’s motivation and positivity make her a role model for all of her teammates, according to Elizabeth Welch and Molly MacQueen ’21.
“I admire how Sarah always comes to the locker room with a smile on her face regardless of the ups and downs of her day. She never fails to radiate genuine positivity and kindness, and her attitude on and off the ice has made this team all the more tight-knit this season,” wrote Elizabeth Welch.
MacQueen wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “Since joining the team, Sarah has been nothing but welcoming. She is so supportive, both when you are doing well [and when you are] having a rough day. Sarah’s enthusiasm for the team is unwavering, and she is an incredible leader. Sarah is the kind of teammate that makes you feel lucky and excited to be a part of her team.”
Rigazio credits her success as a player and captain to the supportive environment her teammates create. It is the team’s camaraderie and passion for the sport that make her experience playing hockey at Andover special.
Rigazio continued, “The character and personality of the team will take us further than skill ever will, because if we get along well, that is the biggest factor of success.”