VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Ali Gordon and Olivia Zettervall are not only field hockey teammates and schoolmates at Cape Henry Collegiate, but they are both recipients of offers to play field hockey at the collegiate level for The Ohio State University. The fact that they are also best friends makes this story even more special. Ali, a North End resident, is paving the way by heading off to Columbus this fall, and Olivia, a Birdneck Point resident, will follow next year after graduating in 2021.
Cape Henry gives students the option of playing a team sport to fulfill their physical education requirement. Both girls started their athletic careers playing soccer but decided to try playing field hockey at school when they each were in 6th grade. Olivia played soccer as a goalkeeper, but she liked how field hockey allowed her to play in the field. Ali was at a friend’s home for a sleepover who had field hockey tryouts the next day. She was encouraged to try out as well, and even though she had never played before, Ali made the team. Their shared field hockey journey had begun.
Ali and Olivia both continued playing travel soccer with Beach FC through middle school while playing both soccer and field hockey at Cape Henry. They also each began playing on travel field hockey teams on which they continue to play. Olivia plays for Take Care of Your Own (TCOYO) field hockey club, and Ali plays for The Saints field hockey club. The teams are each other’s biggest rivals in the area.
Both girls committed to field hockey full time in 8th grade when the load of academics and both school soccer and field hockey teams and travel teams proved too heavy. When they made the varsity team as starting players, their choice was easy to make. Both girls have loved playing for Cape Henry and have many fond memories of singing and dancing in the locker rooms to get pumped up before the games. They have helped their team win three consecutive state championships and two back-to-back Tidewater Conference of Independent Schools championships.
Olivia said, “My favorite memory was winning the 2018 TCIS Tournament. We were down 3-1 at the half. It was a crazy comeback! We are definitely going to miss Ali this season.” On the Cape Henry team, Olivia currently plays defense, and she thinks she will play another defensive position at Ohio State. While she played center mid-position at Cape Henry, Ali said, “At Ohio State, I will play anywhere they want to put me.”
When Ali first learned that Ohio State was interested in her, she questioned, “Why would I go play way out there in Ohio?” When she visited the school, however, she loved it. She already knew she liked Coach Jarred Martin’s coaching style. Olivia had a similar experience. She loved Columbus and the players she met, and also had a fondness for Martin as a coach. Olivia checked, but of course Ali was happy to be future schoolmates and teammates once again.
Both girls were recruited and committed early, Ali in 9th grade and Olivia in 10th grade. Olivia and Ali have known each other since middle school, but the girls became close friends once they started playing on the varsity field hockey team. They enjoy working out together, getting dressed up and going to dinner, getting their nails done, and hanging out for movie nights. “My favorite is when we go on a late-night drive in our pj’s and get ice cream or go to Baker’s Crust for the skillet cookie,” said Olivia.
“We both have a weird sense of humor so we were drawn to each other as friends,” Ali reminisced. “We have a special handshake that we did every game. Maybe, that will continue.”
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