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Senior captain midfielder Maeve Connors completed her career with the Hand field hockey squad by garnering All-State honors, while taking the Tigers all the way to the final of the Class M State Tournament. (Photo courtesy of Maeve Connors )
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Maeve Connors will always have fond memories of her time as a field hockey player at Daniel Hand High School. Maeve recently finished a career that saw her score 16 goals to go with 15 assists for the Tigers, while helping the team continue its tradition as one of the top clubs in both the SCC and state ranks.
Two years ago, Maeve helped Hand claim SCC and Class M state championships. This season, she guided the Tigers back to the Class M final, where they took a 3-2 loss to crosstown rival Guilford. Despite the defeat, Maeve was proud of her team for advancing to the state’s biggest stage for the second time in three years.
“We were hoping from the middle of the season on that would be able to get to the final and that Guilford would, as well,” says Maeve. “We wanted one more chance to beat them. I really believed that we outplayed them in that game, but falling behind 2-0 early made our comeback all the more tougher.”
Maeve earned a variety of accolades, including a spot on the All-State Team, while helping Hand finish its season with an overall record of 14-8. Maeve contributed to the Tigers’ success by forming a strong contingent in the midfield alongside Jacqui Sandor, Grace Goddard, and Tessie Sheehan. Maeve and Sandor also served as the senior captains for Head Coach Sue Leckey’s squad.
“Maeve is a coach’s dream as a player. Nobody on our team worked harder,” Leckey says. “In the two years that Maeve started, she rarely came out of a game. No matter what job you asked her to do, she did it, and she always did it to her very best.”
Right from the start, Maeve felt confident that Hand was going to have a memorable season. The Tigers kicked off the year by notching a big 1-0 over Cheshire in their opener and went on to have the latest in their long line of great campaigns.
“We knew we had the potential to be a good team. It was going to come down to how well we could execute game in and game out,” Maeve says. We had enough seniors and good leadership.”
Maeve got her start in field hockey by attending a summer camp in Madison, where she learned about the game while working with athletes who played for Hand at the time. One of those players was Maeve’s older sister Morgan, who graduated in 2014.
“I wanted to follow in her footsteps,” says Maeve. “It’s been so long it’s almost hard to remember when I started playing.”
Maeve made her mark on the varsity team as a sophomore in 2017. It was an epic campaign for the Tigers, who won the SCC Tournament by beating Branford in the conference final, after which they defeated New Canaan to take the state championship.
“I got a fair share of playing time that year. Like this year, it was a team that was dominated by seniors,” Maeve says. “All of those players were great role models for the younger kids like myself. They showed us what the school’s program was all about.”
Maeve had great chemistry with her teammates. She believes that her ability to bond with her fellow midfielders made them a strong unit during the recent season.
“We knew each other’s moves so well,” says Maeve. “We were able to work different strategies as the season went on. It was our job to receive the ball from the backs and work it up into the attack area.”
Maeve received several honors for her performance this fall. In addition to making All-State, she also solidified her place on the All-SCC First Team and New Haven Register All-Area Team. On top of that, Maeve, was named a Scholar Athlete by the SCC. A member of the National Honor Society at Hand, Maeve is planning on majoring in business in college.
However, before she graduates from high school, Maeve still has one season left to compete for the Tigers. This spring, Maeve will suit up for her senior season as a member of the Hand girls’ lacrosse squad.
“The games are very different. You can’t find too much in common between field hockey and lacrosse,” Maeve says. “But like field hockey, once I started playing lacrosse, I was drawn to it.”
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