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Senior defender Grace D’Amico helped lead the North Haven field hockey team as one of its captains this fall. In the spring, Grace will play her final season as an attacker with the Indians’ girls’ lacrosse squad. (Photo courtesy of Grace D’Amico )
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Grace D’Amico recently completed her career as a member of the field hockey team at North Haven High School. Grace has been playing lacrosse since she was in 8th grade and then signed up for field hockey following some encouragement from her friend Lucy Aquaro, who competed for the Indians before graduating in 2017. Grace immediately took to the sport and says she’s happy that she decided to join the team.
“Lucy was a junior when I was a freshman, and she really wanted me to play. I wanted to pick up a fall sport, so I had her teach me the basics before I went into the sport,” says Grace. “The minute I started, I fell in love with it, so from then on I’ve loved playing, and I knew I wanted to keep playing.”
Grace has elevated her game substantially since first stepping on the field as a sophomore. This year, she led the Indians as one of their four senior captains, joining Emily Casamento, Jackie Howlett, and Lindsey Rowland in that role.
“I had great co-captains, which made it really easy to be a captain, because we were all so close and made decisions so well together. It was such a great team to lead, because we were all so excited to play,” Grace says. “We all love the sport and are there for the same reason. Even though our record didn’t show it, we had a really great season, and we all bonded really well. I love all those girls. We were all really close.”
It meant a lot to Grace and her fellow seniors that they finished their high school field hockey careers on a positive note. North Haven won its final two games of the campaign this fall, earning a 2-1 home win over Shelton on Senior Night and then posting a 3-0 victory at Shelton the following day.
“It felt great, especially it being our last year as seniors. I think it was a really great way to leave it off and go out,” says Grace. “Through the whole season, we all worked really hard to win and, even though we couldn’t get those games we hoped we would get, to end it with those two wins that we deserved was a great way to end the season.”
Grace saw a lot of time on defense at the left wing back position for North Haven. Grace had a lot on her shoulders while patrolling the entire left end of the field, but she embraced the responsibility, and stepped up to the challenge of defending the Indians’ turf.
“It’s a lot of pressure, because you have that whole side of the field to take care of,” Grace says. “Even though it’s a lot of pressure, it’s a good place for me because, when the ball is coming down the field and I know I can get there, it makes me determined to get that fire in me and defend the ball. I know I have the sweeper behind me if anything goes wrong.”
Head Coach Kim Bouffard says that Grace was a great leader both on and off the field. Bouffard also notes that Grace was always in the right spot to make a play for her squad.
“She became a very aggressive player. Her speed and quickness were an asset to the team,” says Bouffard. “She was able to defend the other team’s passes, and her quickness saved a few goals, too.”
While Grace played defense in field hockey, she’s on the other end of the spectrum as an attacker for the North Haven girls’ lacrosse squad. Although the positions are much different, Grace brings the same mentality to the field no matter what sport she’s playing.
“I think the aggressiveness was the same. You have to be really aggressive on defense in field hockey, and you need to be really aggressive on attack in lacrosse, because you have to move around people. In that way, I think it’s similar,” says Grace. “When I’m on attack, I like when we’re passing the ball around the circle. It takes a lot of hard work to pass around the circle and score, which is why I think it’s a great position.”
Grace says she wishes that she started playing field hockey earlier in her career. However, she appreciates everything that she’s learned and all the friendships she’s formed as a result of playing both field hockey and lacrosse in North Haven.
“I really love field hockey. From the minute I started playing field hockey, I wish I had started it my freshman year. I just fell in love with it,” says Grace. “I just think both sports have had a huge impact on me in high school. I’m glad I got to play both and bond with both teams. It was so much fun.”
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