Sunday, September 20, 2020

Sports Person of the Week

Hartzell Makes a Smooth Move to the Midfield


Senior captain Olivia Hartzell made the move to the midfield and helped the Westbrook field hockey squad put together the latest in a long line of great campaigns this fall.

Photo courtesy of Olivia Hartzell

Senior captain Olivia Hartzell made the move to the midfield and helped the Westbrook field hockey squad put together the latest in a long line of great campaigns this fall. (Photo courtesy of Olivia Hartzell )

Olivia Hartzell’s versatility is one of the main reasons why the Westbrook field hockey team recorded 38 victories during her three seasons as a starter. This fall, Olivia moved from the attack to the midfield and helped Westbrook win 15 games, while advancing to the Shoreline Conference final and the Class S state semifinals. She also guided the Knights as one of the team’s senior captains.

“I have never underestimated either my team or my teammates, but I’ll tell you, I was slightly shocked at how well we did,” Olivia says. “I’m just so happy for myself and my team members. It was unbelievable.”

Head Coach Janet Dickey wanted Olivia to play in the midfield instead of on the attack this year. However, Dickey knows that Olivia can make a big difference for Westbrook at any position.

“Olivia is an all-around player. Her ability to either carry or distribute the ball based on game situations makes her such a valuable player,” says Dickey. “I never wanted her to hold back, either. When Olivia got open, I always told her to shoot. In fact, she’s our primary hitter on attack corners for that reason.”

Olivia started playing field hockey when she was in 6th grade. Olivia had played a few other sports before a group of her friends decided to try field hockey together.

“I knew absolutely nothing about the sport,” Olivia says. “Once I started, however, I was hooked.”

Olivia saw some time on the field as a freshman, then earned a starting job in her sophomore campaign. After playing on the attack the past two years, Olivia made the move to the midfield this season.

“It really gave me a different perspective on the game,” says Olivia. “I began seeing the field differently.”

Olivia also served as one of Westbrook’s senior captains. She enjoyed leading the team with fellow captains Lexi Koplas and Kendall Orlowski.

“I’ve loved working with the underclassmen. Being a leader and seeing the other players develop was great,” Olivia says “I never felt superior. Working alongside all of them was an awesome experience.”

Olivia scored seven goals while playing on the attack in her junior season. This year, she netted three goals to go with six assists as a midfielder for Coach Dickey’s club.

“We always knew that Olivia had the skills to elevate her game,” Dickey says. “She made the move because she believed in herself and let it shine through.”

During the winter, Olivia concentrates on her studies and spends time with her church groups.

“I’ve always loved being with people,” says Olivia. “Helping others and seeing them achieve what they’re after makes me feel good.”

When springtime rolls around, Olivia plays second base for the Westbrook softball squad. Olivia’s senior season will mark her third year as a starter for the Knights.

“Softball is something that I’ve enjoyed for a long time,” Olivia says.

Olivia appreciates the support that she gets from her parents, Phyllis and Scott. She has two older brothers, Alex and Philip, who are both attending college.

Olivia is interested in majoring in nursing when she goes to college. Right now, her top two choices are Fairfield University and Sacred Heart University.

“I’ve taken quite a few Advanced Placement courses in preparing myself for college,” says Olivia. “It will be an entirely new challenge for me.”

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