Head Coach Kate Dolan began her career as the Andover Varsity Field Hockey coach in 1990. Dolan is currently in the midst of one of her most successful seasons as Head Coach, as Andover carries an undefeated 9-0-1 record.
After a year here as a teaching fellow in 1990, Dolan moved on to be an Assistant Coach for Dartmouth’s Women’s Field Hockey and Lacrosse teams. She returned to Andover after just one season.
Dolan knows what it’s like to be a competitive athlete. After her high school field hockey career, she played at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) for four years.
She played midfield and defense, and she was captain of the field hockey team in 1986 and 1987.
Her field hockey coach encouraged her to join the lacrosse team, and she became a defensive midfielder and captain of the lacrosse team in 1988. Dolan was also a member of the UNH Division 1 National Championship team in 1985.
“In 1985, despite being huge underdogs [in the final seed], we won the NCAA lacrosse championship. That experience taught me what a group of people who believe in themselves can accomplish. It sounds cliché, but that team personified teamwork. No one expected a northern team to defeat the lacrosse dynasties of Temple University and [The University of] Maryland to win it all, but our coach believed in us and told us before we took the field: ‘Teams, not individuals, win championships.’ And we won 6-5 —it was best feeling ever,” said Dolan.
Dolan stresses the importance of teamwork, something that her coaches at UNH focused on.
“The chance to be a part of so many great teams, but those two in particular, is why I went into coaching. More than anything I want people to value and appreciate teamwork, unselfishness and what it means to be a good teammate,” said Dolan.
This fall, Dolan and Andover Field Hockey have their eyes set on the Championship.
Captain Evagelia Toffoloni ’15 said, “Basically our main goal from the start was to work our hardest and help each other be the best team we can be. The team dynamic and our own success was up to no one but ourselves, so our goal was to take the season head on and play every second with full intensity.”
“We plan to continue our success by never giving up and staying strong until the last game. We are motivated to play until the 19th game,” added Toffoloni.
Toffoloni credits Dolan for her own personal success and the success of the Andover Field Hockey team.
“[Dolan] has been an inspiration over the past few years. After my first year on [the team], I fell in love with the sport and have considered field hockey my first sport ever since. [Dolan] has a way of focusing on small things and small changes that really improve your game and attitude on the field,” added Toffoloni.
Dolan’s coaching philosophy is centered around unity and compassion.
“She cares wholeheartedly for each member on the team and is passionate about every aspect of [Andover Field Hockey]. She makes sure that everyone is equally involved and dedicated to the team at all times. She also always makes sure that we are constantly giving it our all on the field,” said Toffoloni.
Hannah Burns ’15, who has played on the team for three years, said, “You can see the passion that [Dolan] has for [Andover Field Hockey] through everything she does for the team both on and off of the field. Whether it is printing out quotes that serve as little reminders to motivate us, or inspiring us in speeches during practices and games, she makes every one of us push ourselves harder and makes us care that much more.”
With Dolan at the helm, Andover Field Hockey looks to build on its undefeated start and avenge its early exit from the playoffs last year.