Stonington field hockey team will soon have this luxury full time

Example: Stonington’s Stephanie Stearns was phenomenal in the Bears’ 3-0 win over Immaculate in the Class S state tournament field hockey semifinals Tuesday night on the turf at Guilford High School, sprinting, dribbling, weaving in and out of defenders.

“People keep telling me she was really good that game,” Stonington coach Jenna Tucchio said. “She is that good. She has been that good. You just can’t see it as much when you play on grass. On turf, everybody can be so much more precise.

“Part of me still likes the grass, it’s gritty and it’s hardcore. But on turf, you can see their skills.”

The sixth-seeded Bears will play No. 3 Haddam-Killingworth in the state championship game at 2 p.m. Saturday on another turf field at Wethersfield High School. Stonington lost to H-K 1-0 in overtime during the regular season on grass.

It has yet to be determined whether the change in surface will make a difference in the tenor of the game between the two teams.

Tucchio, however, can look forward to her players being able to show off their skills daily next season as Stonington residents recently passed an initiative to install artificial turf at the high school, a project expected to be completed by next August.

“Skill acquisition’s going to come a lot quicker,” Tucchio said. “How many times on grass have you seen the ball bump right when you pass it left?”

Stearns herself, one of the Bears’ senior captains, said she’s kind of partial to having played on grass, saying if you can play on that surface you can play anywhere.

“It’s more of a challenge. You have to work harder,” Stearns said Thursday, as Stonington practiced on the turf at Waterford High School (the Bears will practice Friday on turf at Conn College). “I like the challenge better. It’s more old-fashioned, down and dirty.”

But senior captain Amanda Roy, a defender, wishes she was going to be around to play on the new turf at Stonington.

Said Roy: “I feel sharper on the turf. It’s more challenging on grass. On turf, you’re going to receive everything. Everybody’s executing a little crisper.”

Reader Comments


Shearer lending her coaching expertise to NFA girls' track ... and more notes from the ECC championship meet

East Lyme — Sitting on the sideline watching the javelin competition during the Eastern Connecticut Conference championship Saturday were Norwich Free Academy girls' track assistant Sue Hopkins-Terrell (in charge of throws) and former...

This time, the NFA softball team is unbeaten, too

Last time the Norwich Free Academy softball team played Fitch, not many people thought it was going to be NFA which came out on top. Fitch was undefeated and on its way to a Class L state championship run. NFA, the No. 6 seed, then...

The youngest Hespeler, Ledyard softball's junior pitcher, is quite the competitor, too

Chloe Hespeler is the younger sister of an All-American, former Ledyard High School swimmer Jessica Hespeler. So when you learn that Chloe, a right-hander for the Ledyard softball team, is the only pitcher this season to lose to second-ranked...