Since joining the Andover Girls Varsity Hockey team her Junior year, Co-Captain Bridget Santos ’21 has proven herself to be an effective leader through her strong vocal presence, helping to guide the team to a second-place finish during the 2019-2020 season after missing the playoffs in the 2017-2018 season. According to Abby Lamontagne ’21, Santos motivates her teammates with her outspoken nature and communication skills.
Lamontagne said, “It’s always nice especially coming back on the bench to have that support there. On the ice, it’s always good to hear your bench cheering, and you definitely need vocal leaders on the bench like Bridget to uplift that team energy enough when you’re on the ice and even when you come back on the bench too. It’s always great because Bridget is [the] one to always pat everyone on the back as they come off the ice and uplift you if you have a bad shift or let you know if you did something well.”
When and where did you start playing hockey?
I started playing when I was four. I have an older brother who played, so I kind of just followed in his footsteps. I played for a couple different clubs up until now. I played town hockey when I was really little and then club teams when I got older.
What is your favorite aspect of Andover Girls Hockey?
I think the dedication level of everyone on the team is something that we all collectively agree on and is a driving factor in our success. The energy that we have when we’re together [has made us] a really competitive group but in all the best ways.
Are there any teammates or coaches you look up to for inspiration or as role models?
I think at Andover, our coaching staff is really phenomenal. I think it’s really been helpful and inspirational having an all-female coaching staff– that’s something really rare in girls’ hockey. I also think the captains during my [Junior] year, Sarah Rigazio ’18 and Charlotte Welch ’18 were the best role models we could have had.
How do you motivate and lead your team before games and during intense situations?
Usually, the captains send out an email the night before each game outlining the goals and specifics about our opponents. Before each game, the coaches will come in [the locker room] and give a speech similar to that, and the captains usually put in a word or two as well. I think my teammates will vouch for this, but I’m pretty loud on the bench, and I like to talk throughout the whole game. It might annoy some people, but I think it gives everyone a good laugh. I’m always screaming whenever we have a good play or whenever the other team has a scoring opportunity. I just try to keep our communication levels up because I think when we get too quiet, we play a little stiff.
The team made a strong push in the playoffs last year before falling short in the finals against Noble and Greenough. What was special about the whole journey through the playoffs and what did you learn from it?
I think it kind of started our [Junior] year, we didn’t make playoffs, so to end off in our Upper year coming in second place was a crazy experience. I think last year, the captains, Sophia Merageas ’20 and Lilly Feeney ’20 were driving forces both on and off the ice. Playing with them, you just wanted to play your best and do your best because they always were, and they were great examples for not just me but the whole team.
What are some takeaways you have from your experiences on the team?
I think learning to hold not just myself but the people around me accountable in a way that’s productive and efficient has probably been the biggest takeaway. I think the examples [set by] the girls older than me were something I always strived to live up to, and I think having proper communication with not just my teammates but also coaches is something I’ve gained a lot from.