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Senior captain forward Ella Stanley has 22 goals with 17 assists for the undefeated Guilford field hockey squad this fall. (Photo courtesy of Ella Stanley )
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Ella Stanley earned her spot in the starting lineup with the Guilford field hockey team as a freshman and has been a spark plug for the Indians ever since. Now a senior captain, Ella is having a spectacular year in which she’s leading all players in the SCC with 22 goals and 17 assists. She also helped Guilford put together an undefeated regular season that saw the squad post a record of 15-0.
For several years, Ella had a goal of playing field hockey at Guilford High School. Ella got that opportunity three years ago, when her sister was a senior on the team.
“I was little when I first went out for high school field hockey. My older sister Teddi was a starter, and I was determined to be playing alongside her,” says Ella. “I guess you could call me scrappy.”
In her freshman season, Ella and her sister helped the Indians advance to the Class M State Tournament final, where Guilford lost to New Canaan. Last year, the Indians not only won the SCC Tournament for the first time, they also became the first team in program history to win an outright state title by earning a 3-1 win versus Sacred Heart Academy in the Class M championship game. Now, Ella is looking to lead Guilford on another memorable postseason run in 2019.
“This year, we have an opportunity to add more to it,” Ella says. “We’ve had the best regular-season in school history.”
The Indians won all of their regular-season games by multiple goals, recording lopsided victories in most of those contests. Last week, Guilford started off the playoffs by claiming a 7-1 win against Hamden in the SCC quarterfinals.
“We’re just so balanced. I believe that’s the reason we’re as good as we are,” says Ella. “It starts with our goalie Eve Young and goes through the defensive line with Cat Larrow, Sadie Smith, Mia Suchy, Ella Kagan, and Lily Mackey. They move the ball forward so quickly. It creates great scoring chances for us.”
Ella adds that her fellow forwards, Ava Bucci and Lexi Hitchcock, are great assets on the attack, as well.
“We can all score or pass the ball,” she says. “It’s very hard for a defense to shut us down.”
Ella and her fellow senior captain, midfielder Jaime Neleber, created a new award for the Indians this year. After every game, the Stick Award goes to one of their teammates who made a big impact in the contest.
“It doesn’t always go to someone who scores lots of goals in a game,” says Ella. “We present it each game to a player who contributes in the win.”
Ella started playing field hockey when she was a student at Adams Middle School. She has fond memories of competing for the high school team during her freshman year.
“One day, before I was starting, I played a full freshman game, then a complete junior varsity game, and was put into the varsity game by [Head Coach Kitty Palmer], and that game went into overtime,” Ella says. “I must have played over 100 minutes of field hockey that day.”
Coach Palmer knew that Ella had potential from the get-go, but says that she’s come a long way during the past three years. Palmer feels that Ella brings a nice mix of consistency and selflessness to the field for Guilford.
“Ella is so steady as a player,” says Palmer. “She’s never selfish. There are times when she could score, but she’ll choose to make the pass and have someone else score the goal.”
Once the fall season is finished, Ella competes for the Guilford girls’ fencing team. Last year, Ella came in third place for foil at the Individual State Championship and then helped the Indians finish first at the Team State Championship.
“It’s a great challenge, because it’s about thinking and strategy,” says Ella of fencing.
Ella also plays the viola in Guilford High School’s symphony orchestra, in addition to performing in chamber music and quartet outside of school. When the weather gets warm, Ella volunteers as a team coordinator for the Big Sleep Out on the Guilford Green. Ella spearheaded the event as a way to raise awareness for homelessness.
“We have a sleep out every year on the Guilford Green to bring attention to the problem,” Ella says. “I’m a strong believer in service and social justice.”
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