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Guest blogger: South River field hockey standout Maddy Ulery

During the school year, Varsity Letters will periodically ask student-athletes from various sports to step in as guest bloggers. They will share their personal thoughts as they approach a big game or enjoy a memorable moment over the course of a given season. 

This week's guest is Maddy Ulery, a senior midfielder-forward on the South River field hockey team. She is in her third varsity season and is a team captain as the Seahawks look to defend last year's Class 4A state championship. After graduating, Ulery is set to play at Maryland and plans to major in hearing and speech pathology.

Here's what Maddy wrote Thursday with the Seahawks off to a 3-0 start as they prepare for Monday's showdown against Anne Arundel County rival Broadneck:

Starting the season off at South River as a senior on the field hockey team, I knew that I needed to step up as a leader. I was named captain as well as two other seniors (Anna Wagner and Naomi Johnson), and the three of us know by losing 13 seniors last year that we have big shoes to fill. As a senior on SRFH, it is my job to help in every way I can to get the team motivated and ready to play with high intensity and heart.

Coming into the 2013 season as defending state champions only pushes our team to work harder every single day. We know that we have a huge title to defend. Everyone on South River field hockey pushes themselves during workouts, practices and games because we want to keep that title again this year. We know what it feels like to have all our hard work pay off and that is what motivates us to want that feeling again.

I love playing teams like Broadneck during the season. In one season we can end up playing them as many as three times. There are so many talented field hockey players on our rival teams which only makes the games so much more intense and exciting. Playing our rival teams only makes us better because it challenges us to step up and play smarter hockey. We know going in to the big games that we are up for a challenge, but we also know that we have the skill and endurance to pull through for a win.

Before a big game, my routine is pretty normal from game to game. I make sure to drink lots of water to stay hydrated days before a game. The day of a game, our team always plans on wearing the same thing to school, and my personal favorite is when we wear our uniforms. Before a big game, I always try to find some time in the day to really think about what my personal goals are for the night and what my team goals are for the night. Before the big game finally starts, I make sure I have a ribbon in my hair made by my coach (Megan Atckinson) for good luck.

Our team this year has a lot of special qualities. We are a young team, but the skill is still high if not higher then last year and we are working every day to stay in shape. Our team has so much heart, and thats why we are successful. This year, our team works together perfectly and it shows on the field. Each and every girl plays for each other and thats how South River wins games.

I have enjoyed all of my years on the South River field hockey team. I love my coaches and my teammates, we are all one big family. This team has made me the girl and player that I am today and I have so many memories and lessons that I will take with me in my life. My favorite thing about being a part of this team is my relationships with my teammates. I'm so lucky to have so many sisters.

Really starting off the season strong by winning the South River Invitational definitely gave our team the spark we needed. We played two really intense games against very talented teams, and I think by winning and overcoming the challenge, our team really learned how to work together starting off a new year as a new team. The wins boosted our teams confidence going into the season. Over the [past] weekend, my team played to win and it showed. We had some beautiful passing sequences, and goals, and we played with very high intensity. The victories reminded us just how hard we all need to work to win the state title again this year.

-- Maddy Ulery

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