The high school field hockey on Delmarva has a rich tradition of producing state champions. Sussex Academy in Georgetown, DE is starting a field hockey program with the goal of establishing a varsity team by 2020. The junior varsity team the Seahawks are fielding is made up of freshman. Playing on a new field turf facility, head coach Stephanie Hartsoe is charged with guiding this program in its infancy.
WBOC: Can you go into detail about the plans for this program and the timeline to get it to varsity status?
Hartsoe: We have 15 ninth graders. Our thoughts are this year is the building year. Hopefully by their senior year we will become a varsity program. There is a chance that will occur by their junior year. It’s brand new and we have only three players who played in middle school. That leaves us with 12 brand new girls who are picking up sticks for the first time and getting their first experience with a game that I loved as kid. I am excited to now coach them
WBOC: What are the goals for year one of this new program?
Hartsoe: We want to focus on basic skills and getting the players to team build. I am looking at getting some of them in an indoor league during the off-season.
WBOC: What is your background with field hockey?
Hartsoe: I was just like them my freshman year at Newark, DE high school. My mom asked if I was interested in playing field hockey. It was a sport she had played. I ended up playing four years as a goalie in high school. I then went to Wesley College and played there for four years.
WBOC: What about any prior coaching experience?
Hartsoe: During my student teaching I worked with Polytech as their goalie coach for a year. I also coached goalies at Caesar Rodney. When I started teaching at Sussex Academy I coached the middle school team. Outside of field hockey, I also coach swimming and lacrosse.
WBOC: Can you give some backgroud to the decision to start a field hockey program?
Hartsoe: We have been trying to recruit girls since the high school started but there just was not enough interest to field a team. This was the first year we had a good number of girls to get it started.
WBOC: What is the excitement about the new field turf facility?
Hartsoe: We have two of these fields and it’s awesome. It has also stepped up our game. In middle school we played on grass, but have gone to schools that had some turf. It is really helping these girls. It is perfect to play on and if there are girls looking to play in college that is what most college teams use. It is definitely a faster pace game on turf.