Athlete of the Issue: Sandrine Brien ’20

Sandrine Brien ’20, a four-year Senior and Co-captain of the Varsity Field Hockey Team, has helped the team to three New England Finals during her time here. Field hockey teammate Julia Chai ’20 said, “She is a great leader on and off the field, leading by example at practice. She [also] does a great job in helping integrate the new players on the team, and make them feel like they’ve been on the team for years.”

How and when did you start playing Field Hockey?
I started playing field hockey in September of 2016. When I first toured Hotchkiss, [Robin Chandler] spoke to me about the HFH team and its legacy. Since I had no fall sport that I planned to join, she asked me if I would be willing to play, and thanks to Chan’s words of encouragement to try the sport, I decided to give field hockey a shot, even though the idea seemed daunting.
How has your experience in the Field Hockey program been so far?
My experience so far has been amazing and fascinating. Through the sport, I’ve met some of the most incredible humans in my teammates and coaches. I am so grateful for the relationships I’ve made on the team with people I consider family for life.
What are some of your goals this season?
I want to help the team have a great season and eventually make the playoffs. From there, I will do my best to help us achieve the ultimate goal of winning New Englands. That means showing up to practices and games with a positive attitude and a will to compete, so that, along with my teammates, I can help us push and support each other every day in order for us to have the best possible season together.
What are some team goals this season?
The biggest goal would obviously be to win New Englands. I think that losing in the finals twice in the past three seasons has left a bitter taste for those of us who lived those experiences, but we focus on getting better every day as players and as a team rather than thinking about the final goal or end result. Little by little, we look to improve, but most importantly, to have fun and enjoy every moment we get to spend together.
Who inspires you at Hotchkiss and on your team?
My peers inspire me at Hotchkiss. Every person that I’ve had the chance to know at Hotchkiss has inspired me. On the field hockey team, my teammates definitely inspire me the most. As a group, we talk a lot about the importance of sticking together through the good and hard times. From that, I’ve learned the power [of] turning to my teammates for help, support and confidence no matter what. Being able to do that has defined my experience as a member of such a tight-knit group. Everyone wants to help and contribute to team success and learning to do so together by putting team goals first is what shapes HFH.
How have your relationships with teammates and coaches affected your life off the field?
Over my time here, each team has been very close. We’ve always focused on bonding, because the chemistry we have as a team off the field translates so well into the chemistry we have on the field. We eat together, laugh together, share our joys and tears together, and, by spending so much time together, players are more focused on team spirit.
Those relationships within the group have instilled such good team character, from the coaches, to the managers, to the players. Robin Chandler, Kaitlyn Leonard, and John Virden have all worked tirelessly to ensure that we understand and value the importance of communicating and growing alongside each other, and for players to feel comfortable around coaches only adds to the trust we have already have amongst ourselves.