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Conestoga defender Stephanie Hamilton is Main Line Girls Athlete of the Week

Hamilton, a senior sweeper and captain, has helped to lead the Pioneers’ defense as Conestoga won its first three games of the season, including a 4-3 win against Downingtown East which she helped secure with a key defensive tackle with 45 seconds left in the game. Conestoga field hockey head coach Megan Smyth said, “Steph is one of the key leaders of our defense. Her communication and leadership in the backfield is vital to our defensive unit working together.”

Q: You made a key defensive tackle in the final minute against Downingtown East – can you describe how the play unfolded, and your role in it?

A: The ball came down through the middle of the field and it was basically just the attacker and I. The only thought in my head was “I have to get this ball out of the circle.” I stepped to the girl for a clean block tackle and cleared the ball out of the backfield for my teammates to work it back up the field to finish the game.

Q: What is your most vivid memory of that win against Downingtown East – can you share it with us?

A: My most vivid memory is that final clear, because it was ‘crunch time’ as we were only up by one. Also, I always remember watching my team work the ball up the field to scoring position, it’s so satisfying to know that my single pass led to my team being able to get the ball in the back of the goal.

Q: Can you give an on-field example of how communication has paid off for the Pioneers’ defense this season?

A: I talk a lot on the field, as the sweeper I can see almost all of the field and its my job to make sure my teammates know what’s going on behind them so they know that I am here to help, but also so they can do their best as well. Our defensive center-mid, Kiley Allen, and I work really well together and in our game against Springfield (Sept. 8), I said “I’ve got your girl, you can step to ball,” and she went and won the ball. Those successes are just as important to me as my own because I see how my communication works to help the team.

Q: Have you always played defender? What sparked your original interest in the field hockey defender position?

A: I started playing defense sophomore year, switching from midfield, mainly because I knew our varsity team had a need for defenders, and I spent a lot of time working on the skills at my club.

Q: What do you think is the strongest aspect of your game? What part of your game are you working on the most currently?

A: The strongest aspect of my game is my timing on block tackles, I’ve really figured out when to set the tackle, know how much space I have and then get the ball to my midfielders in a timely manner. Currently, I’m working on getting on the same page as our goalie, its really about communication, and because I’m so used to telling the team what’s going on sometimes I forget that the goalie can see more than me.

Q: Tell us a little about your pre-game preparation the day of a game.

A: My pre-game prep always begins with listening to music and getting pumped up with my team, but I usually stay pretty quiet before games and visualize myself playing really well. Once we start warm-ups, I focus on getting my feet moving and try to get my team into ‘game mode’.

Q: You wear No. 6. Is there a reason you chose that number?

A: I’ve worn No. 6 since I was playing T-ball. There’s nothing about it that’s special to me, but I always wear an even number and I guess 6 just stuck.

Q: Who have been your biggest field hockey mentors, and what was the most important thing you learned from each one?

A: All my coaches at WC Eagles have been huge mentors for me in terms of field hockey, I’ve honestly learned everything I know from them and even though they can be tough, I know they only want for me to be a better field hockey player, which keeps me going. Also, Coach Smyth has been an amazing mentor. She’s believed in me since I took the field the first time and she taught me that I have the ability to lead the field. She’s also done so much for me off the field, including college help or answering any question I have.

Q: What do you think you might like to major in at college? Is there a career path that particularly interests you at the present time?

A: I’d really like to major in International Relations or International Business and minor in French. I know that I want to work abroad, maybe for an international firm or become a lawyer and work at the UN.

Q: Do you participate in any other extracurricular activities at Conestoga? What sparked your interest in each of these activities?

A: I’m the editor of the yearbook, member of Model UN and member of Women in Politics.

Fun facts – Stephanie Hamilton

Favorite book: Outliers.

Favorite TV show: Scandal.

Favorite movie: Argo.

Favorite athlete: Serena Williams.

Favorite pre-game pump-up song: Work – Rihanna (R3hab remix).

Favorite team: Penn State Nittany Lions.

Favorite place to visit: Greece or Tokyo.

Favorite pre-game meal: Grilled chicken with orzo pasta.

Favorite color: Light blue.

Date of birth: Oct. 15, 1998 in Paoli.

Family members: Steve (dad) Jane (mom) Michael and Matthew (younger brothers) Murphy (dog).

(Note: To be selected as Main Line Girls Athlete of the Week, a student-athlete must first be nominated by her coach.)

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