Scarborough High senior Abby Walker comes from a field hockey family. Her aunt, Diana, is the highly successful coach at Sanford High. And her older sister, Ellen, was one of the state’s best and now starts as a sophomore at Eastern Connecticut.

But she’s not one of the best players in the state simply because of genes. Her coach, Kerry Mariello, said she could “put Abby anywhere on the field and she would succeed.”

She was an all-state selection as a junior and is well on her way to earning that honor again.

This year she has nine goals and nine assists for the unbeaten Red Storm. Included in those goals are winners against Sanford and Thornton Academy.

Q: Let’s get this out of the way now. After scoring the winning goal against Sanford and your aunt Diana Walker, do you owe her anything now?

A: No, nothing. (Laughs)

Q: Still getting a Christmas present and birthday card?

A: Hopefully.

Q: How long have you been playing field hockey?

A: I think like six or seven years, since sixth grade, so maybe seven years.

Q: And why did you get started?

A: I was actually big into soccer but my cousins all played field hockey and my sister started playing and my dad said, “Why don’t you just play?” I said, “OK, I’ll try …” Then it was like I liked field hockey a lot better so I switched over.

Q:What is it about field hockey that you liked so much?

A: I understand it a lot more. Everyone in my family kind of does it and follows it, so it was fun and we’d all talk about it.

Q: What do you say to the people who don’t get it?

A: You’ve got to understand it. I get that the whistles do get frustrating and tedious. But once you understand it and you kind of get the gist of it, (that) you can start the ball right when you know it’s yours, and once you just get into it and understand the plays, I think it will get more enjoyable for people.”

Q: It is a very technical sport, isn’t it?

A: Oh yeah it is. Because you’ve got to know, you’ve got to have to know the calls kind of before the ref says which way it’s going, kind of have an idea in your head. If (the ball) hit the other person’s foot you kind of have to know, “Hey that’s mine, I’ve got to take it.” It’s a fast game; you to think speedy.

Q: You’d probably like to use the other side of the stick too. Wouldn’t that help?

A: (Laughs) It would help. Sometimes every once in a while I’ll be messing around by myself and use double sides of the stick. It would be nice but it just makes the game so different from (ice) hockey. I’m a big hockey fan too, and just watching hockey and watching field hockey you can see it’s very challenging because you have to turn your stick over.”

Q: What makes this program so good?

A: I think we just all get along. We don’t fight. Obviously sometimes people disagree but for the most part we all kind of laugh and get along. We don’t take things too hard, like criticism. We all want to learn.

Q: But a lot of teams can do that.What separates Scarborough from everyone else?

A: We’re focused. We help out with the seventh and eighth graders. Everyone on the team has made it down to a practice. We just make sure that once we’re gone that the younger people are going to step up and play their role, and that they enjoy the sport, too.

Q: Is it nice to have that target on your back?

A: I love the high-intensity games that keep you on your seat and really make you feel you have to give it everything or you get nothing. Those are the games I love. I kind of like having that target and knowing everyone wants to beat you.

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