Amy Thoman's mother played field hockey when she was in high school, and she encouraged her seventh-grade daughter to pick up the game.

"I found out I really enjoyed it," she said.

Two years later, Amy joined the Bermudian Springs High varsity team, a squad coached by Neil Bixler, whose success is perennial and expected.

"My freshman year, when I substituted in, one of my teammates was Rachael Kotula, and she intimidated me a little," Thoman said, "but learning from her is how I got confidence."

Thoman learned from one of the best. Kotula was the All-Area Field Hockey Player of the Year in 2009, an honor which Thoman now receives for her leadership of a young Eagle squad in 2012.

"This year, we had a really young group of girls," Thoman, one of the squad's five seniors, said. "My coach was worried about how well we would do, but I think we surprised him by winning our division."

The Eagles did not skip a beat. In fact, Bermudian Springs did one better than 2011 and went 10-0 to clinch the YAIAA Division III crown outright. That marked the eighth time in the past nine years that the Eagles won or shared the crown.

Bermudian Springs also entered both the YAIAA and District 3 Class AA tournaments before the season ended with a 16-4 record.

Along the way, Thoman, the center midfielder, became the glue that held the offensive and defensive halves of the lineup together. She finished with 12 goals, third on her team, and eight assists.

"As primarily a center back, she could really control that part of the field -- offense and defense," Bixler said. "She was our penalty stroker and, I think was 3-of-4 on the season, and our primary shot taker on corners, where she scored some of her goals.

"She was asked to do a lot for the team."

Thoman agreed, noting her position included more running to both help on the attack and to recover against breakaways on defense. However, she indicated a drill, which Bixler ordered his players to do during informal summer workouts at Central York High School, put her in proper condition.

"We knew, when he was setting the cones up, we were going to do that drill," Thoman said of the football-style conditioning exercise. "We tried to get out of it, but we knew it would benefit us in the end."

As time passed, Thoman noted fellow seniors Alyssa Dupler and Elana Keller, in particular, developed a friendship which will long remain.

But now that the field hockey season has ended, Thoman said she planned to focus on her schoolwork to prepare for her future.

"I've always liked to play field hockey, but I don't want to devote all of my time to that," she said, "I think it's better to focus on school."

The reason is Thoman hopes to attend a college so she can eventually have a career in nursing.

"I like to help other people and it's just one of those jobs that you'll always have. You never lose it," she said.

Perhaps that is yet another lesson which she, as the senior, can pass along to those who follow her, just as Kotula instructed Thoman.

"I hope they learned that communication is key and that getting along, whether it's on or off the field, has to be there," she said. "Just be respectful."

ccurley@eveningsun.com; 717-637-3736, extension 144. Twitter: @ChuckCurley.

  

FIRST TEAM
   --- Nikki Bennett, sr., Gettysburg: An Mid-Penn Colonial all-star midfielder, Bennett moves up after second-team status in 2011. She posted three goals and a team-best nine assists for the Warriors.
   --- Laken Bull, sr., South Western: Bull had a role in more than half of the Mustangs' goals in 2012 as she posted eight goals and seven assists. She also played in a YAIAA Senior All-Star Game. 
   --- Krysten Dema, sr., New Oxford: The Colonials' captain alternated between back and midfield, from where she scored three goals, because of her stick skills. She also was the principal defender on opponents' penalty corners.
   --- Mackenzie Farley, fr., Bermudian Springs: The latest offensive force in a litany of high-scoring forwards at Bermudian Springs, Farley posted a Hanover-area best 20 goals and contributed 13 assists for the YAIAA Division III champion.
   --- Kathryn Hardman, sr., Gettysburg: The senior forward earned her All-Area nod after contributing eight goals and six goals for an offense which scored in 14 of 18 games.
   --- Becky Henn, sr., Delone Catholic: While a collegiate rugby career is likely in her future, Henn became a three-time All-Area selection in field hockey after her 14 assists led Delone Catholic to a 13-5-1 season.
   --- Megan McGregor, sr., Delone Catholic: McGregor was the anchor in a Squirette defense in front of goalkeeper Holly Little which allowed 18 goals in 19 games. She contributed one assist to the offense.

   --- Rajchel Moore, sr., Bermudian Springs: No one had a role in more goals in the Hanover area than Moore, who moves up after a second-team nod in 2011. Moore collected 18 goals and a Hanover-area best 20 assists.
   --- Brooke Mullhausen, sr., Littlestown: An All-YAIAA Coaches' Division III selection, Mullhausen led the Lady Bolt defense, which allowed 34 goals in 18 games. She added one assist.
   --- Amber Starner, sr., Biglerville: An All-YAIAA Coaches' Division III first-team player, Starner produced six goals and seven assists, which tied for the team lead, as Biglerville posted another strong season.
   --- Amy Thoman, sr., Bermudian Springs: The All-Area Player of the Year, Thoman was the connection between the Eagles' strong defense, which allowed more than goal in only five games, and an offense which scored nearly four goals per game. She tallied 12 goals and eight assists.
  
SECOND TEAM
   --- Rachel Asper, sr., Biglerville
   --- Katie Camara, jr., Biglerville
   --- Lynne Eisenberg, sr., Hanover
   --- Jemie Fofaneh, sr., Gettysburg
   --- Sarah Groft, jr., New Oxford
   --- Sierra Hudson, jr., Gettysburg
   --- Dawn Kraus, sr., Littlestown
   --- Holly Little, sr., Delone Catholic
   --- Alexia Mort, jr., South Western
   --- Kelly Quealy, sr., Fairfield
   --- Lexi Seaman, sr., Spring Grove