Sewickley Academy athlete of the week: Clare Chiusano

Tuesday, October 15, 2019 | 2:19 PM

Clare Chiusano

School: Sewickley Academy

Sport: Field hockey

Class: Junior

Claim to fame: Caroline Cox, Ellie Zack and Maggie Goebel are three of the top scorers for Sewickley Academy field hockey, and they often have Clare Chiusano to thank for setting them up.

Chiusano is a key midfielder for advancing the ball upfield. She also inserts the ball on corners, and two of the team’s last three wins were decided in overtime off of her inserts.

How did you start playing field hockey?

I was new to Sewickley Academy my freshman year, and a senior, Claire Meakem, emailed me about joining because they needed numbers. I went to a practice without any prior experience, and I thought ‘I think could pick this up.’ I jumped into it and fell in love with it.

What do you love about field hockey?

I’ve always been a hockey fan, and my dad has coached (hockey) my entire life. I played for about a year when I was younger. Because of that I could pick up a sense of what you’re supposed to do, but what really hooked me was the team atmosphere, what our team stood for and how much support there was.

How does field hockey compare to ice hockey?

The goal is the same, so you have a stick and you shoot to score. Skating is different from running, which is very exhausting as a midfielder. You can’t use the reverse side of your stick in field hockey, so you have to turn your stick whereas in ice hockey you can just stick handle. The rules are different, because in field hockey the ball can’t touch your feet.

What would it mean to win a WPIAL championship this season?

The past two years we played Shady Side and Ellis in the first round. They’re great teams and have a lot of athleticism, especially Shady Side. Ellis has a lot of technical skill. They have great coaching staffs, so I think this year our goal is to go in with the mindset we (can win). We have the potential, the skill, the athleticism. It’s a matter of believing we can beat these teams and not underestimate ourselves.

Why should more people try field hockey?

It can be easy to pick up, especially if you’re an athlete. It’s a matter of teaching the skill. If you have a great team, that’s a huge aspect. Once you bond with your team and everyone works for a common goal, I think it can be special. Do it for the connections and friends that you might not otherwise have.