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Amara Earns Captain’s Honors as a Junior
Abby Amara has tremendous versatility and can play anywhere for the Valley Regional field hockey team. This season, Abby is taking on the role of junior captain as she patrols the midfield for the Warriors. (Photo courtesy of Abby Amara)
Abby Amara has had a huge impact on the Valley Regional field hockey team over the course of her three seasons. Abby assumed the role of junior captain this year, and she’s not only proving a talented player, but also an effective leader and communicator.
Even as a freshman, Abby made an immediate impact with the Warriors. Abby contributed plenty of points during her first year on the varsity squad, cementing her place as a key piece of the team.
“I think starting during my freshman year was one of my biggest accomplishments,” says Abby. “Starting that first varsity game was a big deal for me. I ended my freshman year with around 25 to 30 points, too.”
While earning the captain’s hat a bit of surprise to Abby, she had plenty of experience on the field to draw from as she settled into that role. Abby feels comfortable leading Valley as a junior captain and knows that she has plenty of support around her.
“At first, being named captain felt like a lot of pressure, but I have good set of other captains behind me,” Abby says. “I have a lot of responsibility. I feel I control a lot on the field, and now, I have to do a lot off the field, too. I feel good having this leadership position, and I have a lot of great girls behind me.”
Abby plays the drop center forward position, which is essentially center midfield, for the Warriors. Abby gets involved on both ends of the field and is able to pester opposing players on the defensive end in order to turn the ball around and create scoring opportunities for Valley’s offense.
“In offensive sets, I usually receive the ball around 25-yard line. Typically, I send it outside, and we’ll do some give-and-goes. I can take the shot from the elbow of the circle,” says Abby, who lives in Chester. “I’m usually involved in a lot of plays, because I pretty much run circle to circle. It depends on the team we’re facing whether I am playing offensively or defensively.”
One of Abby’s greatest strengths on the field is her ability to maintain possession. When a defender tries to get Abby off the ball, she has a diverse bag of tricks that can frustrate her opponents.
“Over the years, I’ve really built on my stick-handling skills. I pull left, and I pull right. You have to have super quick feet,” Abby says. “I have also been working on my fake. I’ll even air dribble it sometimes. I also spin a lot. Sometimes, I can hit it on their non-stick side. Other times, I can hit their feet and just take it from there.”
With 2020 presenting all sorts of challenges across the sports world, Abby and her teammates had plenty to contend with in preparation for the fall campaign. It seems like everyone is playing their way into game shape due to the early limitations on practice time and the lack of a normal preseason.
“During the summer, we couldn’t have captains’ practices. It was up to us to practice and condition. I was at Indian River or Old Saybrook three times a week,” says Abby. “It’s also been difficult not having those scrimmages. We went into the season not knowing what the lineups would be. It was really tough, but we’re getting a better idea now.”
Head Coach Beth McCabe Powers knows that Valley has a valuable asset with Abby on the field as her team does battle in the Shoreline Conference. McCabe Powers feels like Abby is the Swiss Army knife that allows her to adjust her lineups and formations from game to game if necessary.
“Abby’s a talented field hockey player and a strong leader on our team. She’s super versatile and can play anywhere I put her, literally,” McCabe Powers says. “In my opinion, Abby raises the whole level of the team with her work ethic and determination. She makes us the best we can be.”
Although Abby would have preferred a full field hockey season, she feels grateful to have any season at all. Abby is also a member of the Valley softball team, which saw its entire campaign get canceled outright this spring. In addition to playing sports, Abby also likes to write and play the French horn.
Abby believes that the 2020 field hockey season will be especially competitive for the Warriors since they are only facing Shoreline Conference opponents. Abby wants to show the rest of the conference what Valley is capable of this year, and she knows that her team is poised to improve even more in the near future.
“We can’t take any of these games for granted. Every single game counts toward Shorelines. I think we can win. It’s going to be difficult to beat Old Saybrook and North Branford, but I think we have the players to do it,” says Abby. “If not this year, next year we are only losing one senior. This is definitely a building year. We have some good freshmen. We have a solid team of juniors and a couple of sophomores to go with our seniors.”