Tilton's new head coach, Chapel Love, was kind enough to answer some questions before her season gets underway. Coach Love graduated from Tilton in 1994, then went on to play field hockey in college at Vassar College, where she graduated in 1998. From there she went on to coach in college and was awarded the New York State Women's Collegiate Athletic Association and NFHCA North Atlantic Regional Coach of the Year awards in 2002. Now she returns home to try and lead Tilton to a NEPSAC Class C title.
Did you play field hockey in high school or college? If so, where'd you play?
"I did. I actually played for Tilton and then went on to play for Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY."
Is this going to be your first coaching job?
"I started my first coaching job at Tilton back in 1998-99. From there I coached at Vassar as an assistant and then took my first college coaching job at Manhattanville College, in Purchase, NY. "
Since arriving back at Tilton, how has the reception been, from the Tilton School staff, players, and parents?
"Coming back to Tilton is like coming home. Tilton prides itself on being a close knit community, and it lives up to its reputation; the support here has always been tremendous. I've been super psyched by the enthusiasm of the players about the upcoming season."
You have a great team to take over. Your defense is solid, you have one of the best offenses in the state, including two of the best offensive players, in Kaitlin Bardellini, and arguably the best forward in the state, Tia Raspante. What's it like knowing you have these great players in your program, and you don't have to rebuild from the bottom up?
"I had a chance to watch a number of the players in the Granite State Games, and so I know that we have some real talent to work with. Better yet, they have great attitudes and work ethics, so I'm anxious to see what they can do as a team this year. It's going to be fun!"
Being the new coach, is there any one thing that you want to bring to the program, whether it be a particular play style, coaching philosophy, etc.?
"The great thing about coaching at the high school level is the potential of growth for players. You often see some of the biggest strides happen over the course of these four years. I'm excited to help these kids realize all this potential so that some of them will have the chance to play in college if they want."
That leads to my next question, what is your coaching philosophy?
"Character. Character. Character. I'd take a team of dedicated, hardworking and loyal teammates any day over a bunch of superstars. I believe in building teams of players who focus on taking care of one another on and off the field. The best things that happen on our turf this year won't come from me; they will come from kids stepping up as solid teammates and taking risks because they trust one another."
Last one, do you have a personal season end goal, meaning at the end of the season where do want to be with this team?
"We want to improve upon last year, which means making it to the finals in our tournament, which puts us within reach of a Championship."