Sarah DaRos Keppeler
Class of 2007
A superb talent who brought a feisty competitive edge to each of her teams, Sarah achieved careers in field hockey and lacrosse that rank her among the Green Wave’s all-time best.
During her three varsity field hockey seasons, Sarah helped NMHS to a cumulative 42-10-1 record, a South-West Conference championship and a pair of runner-up finishes. Many of those victories were accomplished thanks to late-game or overtime goals and assists by Sarah.
Sarah’s speed and aggressive play enable her to be utilized in a variety of ways, including as a rusher on defensive penalty corners and as a striker on offensive corners.
Veteran coach Dawn Hough was fully appreciative of the variety of skills Sarah brought to the Green Wave: “She is one of our most tenacious players. She does the grunt work, in addition to scoring. She can have two or three players on her and won’t back down from the challenge.”
Yet it was her peerless ability to put the ball in the cage and set up teammates that separated Sarah from her teammates and rivals. During her final two seasons, in spite of frequent double- and triple-teams, she scored or assisted on 46 of the Green Wave’s 82 goals, including a remarkable 22 of 34 in her senior year.
The accounting of Sarah’s contributions is long indeed. During her senior campaign alone. Sarah assisted both goals in a season-opening, 2-1 victory over Newtown; she scored a breakaway goal with 16 seconds to play in a 1-0 win over arch-rival Pomperaug; she registered the only goal in a 1-0 win over Brookfield; she notched two goals and an assist in a 3-0 win over Weston; she had a goal and assist in 2-0 win over Brookfield; she assisted once and scored twice to help beat New Fairfield, 3-1; she assisted the sole goal on “Senior Night” vs. Masuk; she converted a goal to edge Bethel, 1-0; and she scored an insurance goal in a 2-0 SWC playoff win over Newtown.
Coach Hough reflected on Sarah’s considerable field hockey talents: “She makes a lot of good split-second decisions. When you have athleticism and play smart, that makes a nice package.”
Sarah was the Green Wave’s offensive MVP as a junior and team MVP as a senior. She also twice was voted all-SWC and once all-Colonial Division, and earned both first- and second-team all-state laurels.
Sarah’s Green Wave lacrosse teams achieved a 28-26 record while competing in a league well stocked with state-class rivals.
Twice each an all-SWC and all-state lacrosse athlete, Sarah posted eye-popping numbers: she scored 51 goals as a junior and 72 more as the Green Wave’s MVP as a senior. Of note, a high percentage of her goals were scored against the Green Wave’s tougher opponents.
Her final campaign featured a late-season, five-match win streak by the Green Wave that propelled Sarah and her teammates into the state ‘L’ tournament. Once in the CIAC competition, coach Bill Kersten’s side took full advantage of its opportunity, upsetting Roger Ludlowe, 15-14, in overtime and stunning highly touted East Lyme, 7-6, to advance to the state semifinals.
Perhaps best representative of Sarah’s clutch play throughout her NMHS career were her heroics vs. Ludlowe. Sarah scored the game-tying goal in the final minute of regulation, added a goal in the first OT and then the game-winner in the second overtime.
Coach Kersten offered these words: “Sarah was as fierce a competitor as any I've coached, boy or girl… she combined great speed, stick work, and a will to win.”
Coach Jill Strub, who mentored the Green Wave through Sarah’s junior season, was also lofty in her praise: “She was a competitor. She was a feisty player who took chances on the lacrosse field. Sarah played hard and her competitive nature pushed her teammates, who relied on her to set the tone of the game.”
Sarah’s consummate abilities were perhaps best summed up by coach Strub: “As a coach, I enjoyed giving Sarah challenges that pushed her abilities because I knew she would be able to accept the challenge and meet it head on.”