|THE KEENE STATE COLLEGE MAGAZINE FOR ALUMNI AND FRIENDS||VOLUME XXII NUMBER 3 FALL 2007|
Devoted to Field Hockey
Heading onto the field at Harvard Stadium, late 1970s.
Speed has always been a big part of the game for Steph Georgevits '07. So it came as no surprise when the senior lacrosse player eluded her defender and dashed down the gauntlet of waving sticks and arms toward the net. With the score knotted at nine-all and precious seconds ticking off the clock in the overtime period, she cradled a pass from behind the net and, in one motion, fired the ball into the top corner of the net for the go-ahead goal.
Georgevits's heroics not only gave first-year coach Michelle Mason '04 the first victory of her career, but also brought a wide smile to the face of her mother Debbie Georgevits '79, who was huddled with several Owl fans in the KSC Athletic Complex stands on a sunny, chilly afternoon last March.
Debbie Georgevits could easily relate to her daughter's excitement that day. A devoted athlete, she also played both field hockey and lacrosse at Keene State. "My mother always told me about her game on the A-field and how much fun she had playing here," said Steph. "She amazes me with her ability to recall so many things from her playing days."
Originally from Salem, New Hampshire, Debbie Georgevits arrived at Keene State in the fall of 1975. Falling in love with the campus and town, she worked her way into Coach Cathi Savoie's starting field hockey line-up.
Kathy Birse-Seigel '79, a former high school adversary and college teammate, remembers Georgevits as being a quick, aggressive playmaker. The players, wearing a traditional uniform of red plaid skirt and white polo shirt, played and practiced on a field void of amenities. Following practices, players would make their way over to the Dining Commons for dinner. "There were two sides, one for smokers and the other for nonsmokers," Georgevits said. "Ironically, most of the athletes would sit on the smoking side."
At the time, division play was less defined. The Owls piled into 15-passenger vans and traveled throughout New England playing a schedule that included not only Lyndon State and University of New Hampshire but also Dartmouth and Harvard. Georgevits vividly recalls playing at Harvard. "It was an awesome experience. We marched into Harvard Stadium with our Keene State banner and lined up with all the schools," she said. "We played a couple of games that day. It had rained, so the field conditions weren't great."
Graduating with a degree in education, Georgevits began her teaching career at Laconia before moving on to Concord High School. Coaching both track and field hockey, she led the Sachems' field hockey squad to five state championships between 1986 and 1990. Although she never coached her daughter at Concord, Debbie had a special way of indoctrinating her into the sport. "I was pregnant with her when I was first coaching," Georgevits said. "So she continuously heard, ‘sticks down, move the ball.'"
By the time she was four, Steph was attending home games and traveling with her mother to away contests. "She would sit on the bench and watch the games," Georgevits recalls. "I wasn't much older than the girls I was coaching. Everyone on the team kept an eye on her and encouraged her to pass the ball around." One parent made her a uniform to match the team, and another gave her a miniature stick.
Steph said having a mother who also coached was difficult at times. "She'd usually tell me what I was doing wrong and not what I was doing right," said Steph, who also played lacrosse, skied, and ran track for the Sachems. She earned All-State field hockey honors as a senior, her junior field hockey team won the state Class L title, and her lacrosse team captured three consecutive state championships. Steph initially balked at attending Keene State. "I know a lot of people who go to a school because their parents went there," she said. "I wanted to do something on my own. But I ended up coming here, and I love it."
At Keene State, Steph was a key contributor on a well-established field hockey team and the Owls' fledging lacrosse program. A first-team All-LEC selection as a senior, Stephanie played on three LEC championship and NCAA field hockey teams and the 2003 squad that captured the ECAC New England title. Her lacrosse teams made three appearances in the ECAC tournament, including in 2004 when they claimed the championship.
"Steph has always had the wheels, but she refined her game over the years and has become a better all-around player," said KSC field hockey Coach Amy Watson. Stephanie's maturity was also apparent off the field. Initially reluctant to seek advice from her mother, Steph now has an open ear. "Steph was able to understand that if she took my advice it would help her improve as a player," Debbie said. "I guess it's the old idea that parents don't know anything when their children are in high school, but suddenly become wiser when their children are in college."
Steph is debating if she'd like to follow in her mother's footsteps and become a coach. "I'd like to have a chance to coach," said Steph, who graduated with a major in business and safety studies. "Playing sports is like job experience. You get to learn how to work with people and know their strengths and weaknesses."
"I think Stephanie would enjoy coaching either sport," said Debbie, who is presently teaching and coaching in Goffstown. "As a player, she wants her teammates to play up to their potential. She volunteered to work with the Portsmouth middle school lacrosse team one day at practice and really enjoyed the experience." If she decides to head down the coaching road, Stephanie won't be lacking for mentors. "Most college athletes have one coach during their careers," Steph said. "I've been fortunate to have had three in college and one at home."