By Rich Fisher
Georgia DeMas is a defender in theory. In reality, she is everything a girl can be when it comes to playing field hockey.
“She’s primarily a defender but she’s a terrific shooter so she’s one of our top options for a corner striker,” Bordentown High field hockey coach Julie Reisig said. “She can pretty much play any role but she’s a natural defender. I’ve been using her as a defensive center mid, at the bottom of our diamond in our formation, but I definitely pull her up on attack as much as possible.”
That was fairly obvious in Bordentown’s 3-1 start, as DeMas was the Scotties’ leading scorer with five goals and four assists. That comes on the heels of collecting seven goals and eight assists as a junior, after tallying a combined three goals and five assists her first two varsity seasons.
“I definitely pride myself on being well rounded,” she said. “I could go to any coach and say, ‘Where do you need me?’ I feel bad if I have to tell a coach ‘I can only play here,’ and they have a lot of girls at that position. I feel playing a lot of positions is more a benefit for the team rather than myself. If our sweeper gets hurt I can jump in there, if our right wing gets hurt I could jump in there. I really like to be there for my team because I know it can be better for us.”
DeMas began her career as a goalie in third grade and “I quickly realized that was too boring.” In fourth grade she went out on the field and was good enough to actually play on the middle school team for the next five years. While in eighth grade, she played in some tournaments with the high school varsity.
During the past six years DeMas has played with the Futures Olympic Development Program and the Princeton Field Hockey Club. Reisig got her first glimpse of the player while coaching in Futures.
“I had her in Futures in eighth grade, and I immediately thought she had quite a lot of experience,” the coach said. “You could see she definitely had a stick in her hand her whole life. It showed when she came in. She was just terrific on reverse and forehand as well.”
One of DeMas’s best skills is hitting the ball with power. While playing on a natural surface to start the season, Reisig estimates she hit a ball about 70 yards upfield through the thick grass. DeMas attributes that power to good genes and a Princeton coach.
“The coach took a liking to me and took me under his wing,” she said. “He would tell me the correct position to be hitting it. He taught me to get down low, have a nice hard hit.”
DeMas also had a unique teacher in her father, Rocco, who is a long-time club ice hockey coach.
“I think my dad was able to take the ice hockey out of the field hockey game and was able to coach me as an athlete rather than a field hockey player,” she said, adding with a laugh, “We have an interesting family.”
Since she was always one step ahead of most other girls she played with, DeMas sometimes did not get the coaching she felt could make her better. Once again, her dad made a difference.
“They would say ‘Oh, Georgia, you’re perfectly fine,’ when I knew I could be better,” she said. “My dad was kind of there to say ‘Cut it here, run it there. You could work on this more.’ He was the one to be the most honest with me. Even now, sometimes it’s not so much fun when he’s very honest with me, but he’s always there to say, ‘You didn’t do this right.’ Rather than a coach saying, ‘You’re doing perfect,’ I need someone to tell me what I’m doing wrong so I could do it better.”
She does admit, however, that it sometimes helps to have someone tell her she is doing it right. That’s where her mom, Jen, comes into play. Jen DeMas teaches special education in history and English at Bordentown High, and is the “good cop” as opposed to Rocco’s “bad cop.”
“My mom will say ‘Georgia, you did fine. Don’t even worry about it,’” DeMas said. “She’s always been there for all my games, she’s a great friend and great supporter. I don’t think I’d be the hockey player or person I am without either one of them. The two together were the perfect team to make me who I am.”
And who she is makes Reisig happy to have her. The coach praises DeMas’s outletting skills, her aerial game and powerful hitting skills. She noted that her quick first step allows DeMas to quickly gain possession of any ball in her area of the field.
“She’s extremely dependable and solid,” the coach said. “She’s just very consistent in her skill set. Her hits and aerials are always going to be on. I’ve never seen her miss one. She’s a good clutch player, I’m sure she’s had a lot of our winning goals over the years. If I need a penalty stroker I can put her on and she’s gonna score and win the game. She’s that sort of a player.”
In DeMas’s freshman season the Scotties went 13-8 and were ranked the No. 3 Group 1 team in New Jersey after reaching the NJSIAA North Jersey 2 semifinals. The following two seasons produced records of 10-10 and 4-14-2, but with a veteran cast returning, DeMas foresees a successful senior campaign.
After going with the flow as a freshman, DeMas decided to be more assertive the following year.
“I knew I was young but I had to grow up a little more and be a leader on this team,” she said. “I think I saw it more that I need to be a teacher for these kids. I coach our little rec league teams, I love coaching, so I thought of it more as a coaching opportunity to better these players. I took so much joy teaching them how to pull right and then watching them do it in a game. I take so much pride knowing they learned that from me.”
DeMas not only likes to teach, she loves to learn. She is a member of the National Honor Society and is also first chair violin in the school’s orchestra. With an assortment of colleges to choose from at all levels, DeMas chose Division II Pace in West Chester, New York. She will major in psychology with an eye on being a therapist and, of course, will play field hockey.
“I went to a lot of showcases and festivals and they emailed me after one of them,” DeMas said. “I thought I’d go check it out. I went there and absolutely fell in love with the school. I met the coach, met the team, and I was like ‘I don’t want to go home, I want to stay here. This is my new home.’
If one believes in omens, her fate was decided a month earlier when her grandparents got a dog.
“They got an Irish setter, and the Pacers mascot is an Irish setter,” DeMas said. “It happened right around the same time, and I thought, ‘Somebody’s trying to tell me something.’”
And if DeMas has learned anything over the years, things usually turn out pretty good when she listens to what the right people tell her.