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Juliana DeAngelo has been a steady contributor for the North Haven field hockey team since her freshman season. Now a junior, Juliana is providing a helpful voice for the younger athletes in a program that’s looking to grow. (Photo courtesy of Juliana DeAngelo )
Juliana DeAngelo has been an important part of the North Haven field hockey squad for the past three seasons. Juliana is one of just a few juniors who has been playing field hockey for North Haven since her freshman year, and she is lending her experience to her teammates in order to help move the program in a positive direction.
Although North Haven has had a challenging season, Juliana and her teammates recently notched a thrilling 4-3 overtime victory against Hamden on Oct. 28. Juliana had the assist when senior Mariella Biceglia netted the game-winning goal for North Haven off a corner in the OT period.
“When we were playing Hamden, we were going back and forth for the whole game,” Juliana says. “We were playing in overtime, and we ended up with a corner. I was on the corner, and I had assist on the goal that put us up 4-3. That was a pretty big moment for me.”
Juliana has been patrolling the midfield for North Haven ever since she joined the team as a freshman. This year, Juliana is playing right midfielder, a position that requires solid stick-handling skills and the ability to play effectively in both offensive and defensive situations. Juliana feels that she does her best work on the offensive end.
“I’ve always pretty much played midfield,” says Juliana. “I think I excel more offensively moving the ball up the field. I’m more of a contributor that way with my stick-handling. I worked over the summer and did camps in the winter to improve my skills overall.”
Juliana’s main role for North Haven is aiding the team’s transition into offense. Juliana mostly works the right side of the field, although she and her teammates will do whatever is necessary to move the ball up from the defensive end in order to gain offensive opportunities.
“It’s about positioning on the field. I usually play right mid. I work with a certain group of girls on the right side,” Juliana says. “Typically, one of our defenders would hit the ball up to us on the right or to the others on the left. It’s our job to get the ball up the field. When we get up there, we’ll look for a forward or, if we have it, we’ll look for the shot ourselves.”
Juliana was inspired to take up field hockey after seeing her sister Christina play for North Haven. Eventually, the DeAngelo sisters had their chance to play side by side. Juliana hopes that she can have the same kind of impact on the team that her sister did.
“I watched Christina play her first two years. Then I was really interested in the sport, and I wanted to try something new. She seemed to enjoy it, and it got me interested,” says Juliana. “We played together for two years on the same team. It was definitely a supportive relationship on the field during games, but it was a little competitive, like when we ran at practice to see who was the fastest. We would push each other that way. It’s a little bit different without her on the team, but I hope to follow in her ways.”
Before she started field hockey, Juliana was a softball player for most of her life. She now plays second base and center field for North Haven softball squad. While the two sports are quite different, Juliana finds that there are some aspects that help her to be better at both.
“I think when running around the bases, there’s a lot of stopping and starting again. There’s a lot of that in field hockey, too,” Juliana says. “When I’m swinging to get a hit in the batter’s box, it’s sort of like when you’re taking a corner in field hockey. At that moment, the lights are on you.”
Juliana saw her softball season canceled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic this spring. Once Juliana knew that the season was off, she dedicated herself to staying ready for field hockey.
“After I knew softball wasn’t happening, I tried to stay focused and keep myself in shape,” Juliana says. “I went down to the track [to] run and practice stick skills. I would also go to the captain practices every week.”
Juliana gained some insight as to what being a captain is all about by attending those practices, and she already has aspirations of stepping into a leadership position next season. As it stands now, Juliana is lending a hand to North Haven’s younger players and has a plan to get more people interested in field hockey even before they attend the high school.
“I really would love to be a captain,” says Juliana. “If I get that chance, next year at the captains’ practices, I would love to get some of the younger middles school kids involved there. I know some who are interested, and I’d like to get them involved because it will help the program.”
When Juliana isn’t focused on academics or athletics, she enjoys expressing herself through her art.
“I really like to draw and paint in my free time. I usually do watercolor or acrylic when I’m painting,” Juliana says. “I haven’t been able to really show my work, but I’m taking an [Advanced Placement] painting class, so I’m hoping to be able to display some of that this year.”
In the end, Juliana knew that the 2020 fall season was going to come with its fair share of challenges. However, Juliana is hoping that North Haven field hockey has a promising future in store, provided that she and her teammates work hard throughout the offseason.
“I hope that we all continue to work hard,” says Juliana. “I hope that we all play together in the offseason and come back better next year.”