Joining Andover Field Hockey (PAFH) in the fall of her Junior year, Elizabeth Welch ’18 has played a crucial role in Andover’s back-to-back Nepsac Class-A Championships in 2015 and in 2016. Anchoring Andover’s defensive unit, Welch proved to be a strong presence both on and off the field throughout the season, and during the playoffs in particular.
Welch’s ability to move the ball up the field in transition, as well as her composure in stiff competition, fueled Andover’s post-season success. Welch’s energy, athleticism, and skill helped the team claim its recent championship success.
Welch scored the goal to tie Andover’s semi-final game against Greenwich Academy and later went on to score the last goal in the shootout of the championship game against Hotchkiss. Following the championship game, Welch was named M.V.P. on the All-Tournament Team for Class A.
What do you think you contributed to the team during the tournament?
I think that one of our greatest strengths as a team was our strong defensive unit. Knowing that we supported each other and would cover for each other allowed each of us to thrive in our individual positions and take risks that helped contribute to our offensive success. Our grit and confidence in each other allowed us to pull together, especially when the games got tougher. I think one aspect that I helped contribute to was getting the team hyped up and keeping the energy level high throughout the games. I think we had moments where we struggled to keep playing our best, especially because the tournament was so demanding with many long games, and I think that I helped to rally the team and refocus us at times.
Describe the feeling you felt when PAFH won the tournament.
The feeling I felt during the post-game huddle was indescribable – jumping up and down with my teammates in absolute happiness and exhilaration, knowing that we each gave everything we had and supported each other through it all. I felt a mix of excitement for what we had just accomplished, and appreciation for the team that I’m so lucky to be on. Throughout the whole season we had so many fun moments from bus dance parties to laughing in the locker room, and winning it all was just a perfect way to end a great season. Throughout the whole season our motto was “Don’t Give Up the Ship,” and I’m super excited to say that we didn’t.
What are some key plays you remember making?
I think that I really fed off of the excitement and the challenge of the games, and I had a couple of good shots that helped our team to win. I improved as a player as the level of competition went up.
What brought you into playing field hockey?
I started field hockey the year before I came to PA at my town school, but I wasn’t very invested in it until my freshman year at PA. [Head] Coach Dolan and Coach Fenton have supported me since I first started field hockey at Andover, and a succession of amazing teams over the past three years has helped me to grow as a player and love the sport.
Who do you have to thank for being as strong a player as you are now? Why?
Ever since my first season at PA, Coach Dolan has supported me and encouraged me, never allowing me to settle for less than what I can be. She has put up with me even when I was joking off at practice or being unfocused, and throughout my three years, her confidence in me has allowed me to improve so much. She has taught us all to love PAFH and to appreciate the beauty of what we have together, and for this I was motivated to give it my all for my teammates, knowing that they were doing the same for me.
How did the team and coaches support you throughout the tournament?
The tournament was a total team effort through and through. I felt completely motivated and inspired by my teammates to do whatever I could to contribute to our success. Coach Dolan and [Captain Beth Krikorian ’17], along with the other Seniors, were incredible leaders throughout the whole season and helped to push our team to be the best that we could be. The cheering and positive energy on the bench and on the field propelled us to win games, especially when they got tougher. Throughout the tournament we maintained a confidence in each other, which led us to hold firmly to the idea that we really could go all the way, and that losing now was not an option.
What is your spirit animal?