GREENWICH, Conn. – When the National Field Hockey Coaches Association announced its All-American First Team in December, only one name from Connecticut was on the list: Emilia Tapsall of Greenwich Academy.
Tapsall, one of Greenwich Academy’s three captains, helped guide the Gators to the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council Class “A” championship, breaking Hotchkiss School’s 10-year stranglehold on the title.
She authored a stellar senior season that saw her rack up 30 goals and 23 assists, making her The Greenwich Daily Voice Athlete of the Month.
But the All-American honor came as a shock to Tapsall.
“I honestly couldn’t believe it that my name was there,” she said. “It was just the icing on the cake after winning New Englands, being a captain on such an great team – and then hearing about this was just unbelievable.”
Tapsall is committed to play field hockey for the University of Virginia in the fall — a sport she didn’t even start playing until she was a high school freshman.
How did she get to be an All-American so fast? You could say field hockey is in Tapsall’s blood. Her father played in England, and her uncle played for the U.S. National Team in the Olympics.
But she also puts much of the credit in her Greenwich Academy coaches – especially Gators head coach Angela Tammaro.
“She [Tammaro] changed my field hockey career,” Tapsall said. “She made me love the sport. She’s such a great coach and makes us all love the sport. She makes us work hard, but it all pays off in the end.”
Greenwich Academy field hockey went 19-2 on the season, defeating its nemesis, Hotchkiss of Lakeville, after falling to the Bearcats in the New England championship the previous two seasons. The victory was even sweeter coming in her senior year, Tapsall said.
While she is itching to get started with a Top 10-ranked Division I school such as Virginia, Tapsall said she would always remember the friends and the talent that surrounded her at Greenwich Academy.
“I think the team dynamic was just unbelievable,” she said. “I’ve never been a part of a team that felt so connected on and off the field. There was no drama and everybody was so happy to get on the field every day – and we played so well.”