ARDSLEY, N.Y. – Melissa Gonzalez was moving quickly around the House of Sports turf field Sunday, demonstrating a drill or explaining field hockey techniques to an eager player.
The former Lakeland High School star and of the 2012 United States Women’s field hockey team was in her element. Gonzalez exhibited the boundless energy she had during her Lakeland playing days.
Gonzalez and Olympic teammate Shannon Taylor welcomed 38 junior high and high-school players to their first Stars and Stripes Field Hockey clinic in Westchester.
“It’s really cool,” said Lakeland junior Kim Monteferante, a starter on Lakeland’s state-title field hockey team. “At Lakeland, we are all proud of Melissa and what she has accomplished. She has a wealth of knowledge to share with us and we aspire to be where she’s been.”
Gonzalez, who was a volunteer assistant coach for the Yale field hockey team last fall, said she was happy to be home and giving back to the sport.
“Shannon and I have wanted to do clinics," said Gonzalez, a starter and impact player on Lakeland's 2007 and '07 state-championship field hockey teams. "We’ve played throughout the system and we want to share our knowledge and passion for the game with the girls.”
Gonzalez was surrounded by family and friends, including Lakeland coach Sharon Sarsen and former Briarcliff coach Kelly Adams, who worked with goalies.
Gonzalez, who began playing field hockey at Copper Beech Middle School, credited all of the coaches, especially Sarsen, and recalled the clinics she attended growing up.
“This is where I’m from,” said Gonzalez. “It’s exciting to see and be a part of, being able to encourage the girls and help them to understand the game more, and to expand their confidence and level of play. Giving back to the girls is something we take pride in.”