Field Hockey Player of the Season: Bishop Brady’s Ashlyn Toupin

  • Bishop Brady’s Ashlyn Toupin (1) tried to get around Newfound’s Hayse Broom (left) during the Division III field hockey semifinals on Oct. 30 in Exeter. The Green Giants overcame a two-goal deficit in that game and went on to win the first championship in program history. Toupin led the team in scoring and is the Monitor’s Field Hockey Player of the Season. TIM O’SULLIVAN file / Monitor staff

  • Bishop Brady’s Ashlyn Toupin (1) and Libbey Hicks (9) come running out of the cage to defend a penalty corner during the Division III field hockey championship in Bedford on Nov. 3. Toupin is the Monitor’s Field Hockey Player of the Season. TIM O’SULLIVAN file / Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 11/30/2019 10:34:37 PM

Watch Ashlyn Toupin play field hockey for only a few minutes and it becomes quickly clear – she’s a natural.

The Bishop Brady junior is quick with the ball on her stick. She drives it with power that belies her small frame. Her speed and effort don’t waver in the face of defenders or swinging sticks.

“Her skills definitely stand out, absolutely,” Brady coach Kelly Owen said.

Those skills helped the Giants win their first field hockey title in school history this fall, and that combination made Toupin a great choice for the Monitor Field Hockey Player of the Season honor.

It makes sense that Toupin looks like a natural because she was born into a field hockey family. Her mother, Kristie, played Division I field hockey for Northeastern University and currently officiates the sport at the college level. Kristie’s sister and Ashlyn’s aunt, Cherie Snow, has been a field hockey coach in the area for years, and Snow was Ashlyn’s coach at Winnisquam when Ashlyn played for the high school’s varsity team as an eighth grader and a freshman.

When Snow took a job teaching at Bishop Brady two years, Ashlyn decided to transfer to Brady in the middle of her freshman year and make the daily commute from her home in Tilton to Concord.

Toupin liked Brady right away, but she said she’s grown more comfortable at the school over the last two years. Both she and Owen believe that comfort level helped Toupin when it came to field hockey.

“She’s definitely grown from last season to this season,” Owen said. “I feel that she’s now a part of the Bishop Brady community, she’s a part of our team, she’s a part of the field hockey family. There is a large group of juniors with this team and they definitely came together this year and Ashlyn was definitely a part of that, which was really nice to see.”

Toupin also grew on the field this year. Her individual skills were evident as a sophomore at Brady and she earned First Team D-II recognition in 2018 as she helped the Giants to a 13-3 record and a spot in the D-III quarterfinals. But this year she took a step forward when it came to vision and making those around her better, and it was no coincidence that the Giants took a step forward, too, finishing the season 18-2 after beating defending-champ Mascoma in the title game.

“I started to read the field better this year, and I had more knowledge of the game,” Toupin said.

“I think this year she helped the rest of her teammates come through as well,” Owen said. “As a coach, I always look for that kid that’s going to bring everybody else along and they definitely bought into it together. When Ashlyn is on and she’s got her head up and she sees what’s going on, she does well.”

Toupin did well in large part because she was surrounded by talented teammates. Toupin finished with a team-high 19 goals, but Libbey Hicks was right behind her with 16, and Halle Laramie and Rebecca Murphy finished with 12 each.

“This award is an honor for her, but it’s also a compliment to her teammates,” Owen said. “This year we really stressed that it’s never about me, it’s about we, and they all bought into that, Ashlyn included.”

Still, Toupin’s ability and importance to the team was clear to opposing coaches, who would often man mark her while the rest of the team played zone defense.

“At first that was little frustrating because there was always someone obstructing my view,” Toupin said.

Her frustrations faded when Owen devised a counter to the scheme by moving Toupin back to defense and having one of her defenders, Kat Weed, move up into Toupin’s spot at right midfield. Some high-scoring players would have balked at the move, but not Toupin.

“She was good with it,” Owen said. “She didn’t insist on staying at her position at all.”

Even when she was orchestrating the offense from her normal spot at right midfield, Toupin didn’t slack when the other team had the ball. She was part of Brady’s defensive corner unit and during the Giants’ playoff run her defensive contributions were huge.

“She made sure she was in the circle playing defense, especially in the semifinals and finals,” Owen said.

As much as Toupin supported her team, the Giants supported her right back. During the semifinals, Toupin missed a first-half penalty stroke and Brady found itself down 2-0 when Newfound scored early in the second half.

“That was pretty stressful,” Toupin admitted. “But right after that I remember we had a timeout and we all just came together, we all put our hearts in it and we were like, ‘We’re not going down right now, we will fight until the end.’ ”

They did just that with Toupin assisting Laramie on the equalizing goal and Laramie scoring the game-winner just 1:11 into overtime.

The final didn’t have the same dramatic finish but there were plenty of tense moments before the Giants pulled out a 1-0 win for the first title in program history.

“Right after winning (the championship) it was just shock because that’s what we had dreamed of for so long and it finally happened,” Toupin said, “and we’re still super proud.”

Toupin has already verbally committed to play college field hockey at D-I Merrimack starting in the fall of 2021. She was drawn to the school because she felt, “they have a great family dynamic on their team,” which is what she loves about Brady. Asked about a highlight for the season, Toupin didn’t talk about scoring goals or dramatic overtimes. She talked about team.

“What I’ll remember about this season is just bonding with my teammates on and off the field,” Toupin said. “I really liked getting to know them as people and we just grew as a family every day.”

(Tim O’Sullivan can be reached at 369-3341, tosullivan@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @timosullivan20)



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