“One more”, the Varsity Field Hockey mantra heard in their practices, on the sidelines, and inscribed on the back of their championship T-shirt. And, oh, how we would love to have one more athletic year with senior phenom Olivia Zettervall, affectionately known as “Zett.” “One more” sends a strong message of effort, commitment, and giving one last repetition or sprint in order to give your team a winning edge and attitude.
Zett’s legacy left on the field hockey pitch personifies this mantra. Her accolades include multiple seasons of 1st Team All-Conference, 1st Team All-State, and All-Tidewater honors; recently, she was named the Most Valuable Player of the TCIS Invitational Tournament. Since her Eighth Grade season, she has started every field hockey game and ended four of five seasons with a win. Her presence on the field is fierce, competitive. As a two-year Varsity Field Hockey Team Captain, her teammates know what she expects of them, and they respect her for her play and leadership. They respect her because she does not give anything less than an all-out effort in practice, and in games. This is probably why every varsity coach at CHC wants her on their roster. This spring, as she finishes off her Dolphin athletic career as the two-year Varsity Soccer Captain, we will all enjoy “one more” season of Zett. She signed her National Letter of Intent to play women’s field hockey at The Ohio State University next year, and I am sure she will have many Buckeye fans in the 757 cheering her on.
As you read these characteristics of Zett, you also know of her fun, free-spirited, happy-go-lucky self. As she approaches you in the hallway or in the classroom, she will light up the space with her energy and smile. “Olivia is sunshine personified!” said Upper School English teacher, Ms. Robyn Judge. “I have never seen her come to class without a positive attitude. Optimism reigns when Olivia is present! Additionally, she is one of the hardest working most earnest students I've ever taught. Just love her enthusiasm for life.”
Olivia is a true Dolphin, through and through. As we have navigated our way through this pandemic, I know how badly she wants to cheer on all red and gray teams in person, and I have many years of memories with her right in the middle of the Cape Squad cheering on other student-athletes when she wasn’t competing.
“Olivia is the spirit of Cape Henry; her pride for CHC was present in her every day commitment to being her best self and representing her school,” said Upper School English teacher Mrs. Shelley Camp. “Olivia was always engaged in our class discussions and brought her creative ideas to all of her English assignments. I still have one of her Lord of the Flies projects on display in my classroom that I use for a model every year.”
Champions do not excel by chance. Zett’s level of excellence both in her athletic skill set, and demeanor on the field, came about after many years of hard work. She’s usually in the top of timed runs, competitive drills, and fitness challenges. It’s intrinsic in everything she does. “Olivia is one of the hardest working students I have ever taught. Continue to flap your wings and fly,” added Mr. Carlton Marlow, Upper School Mathematics teacher.
We all hope as athletic administrators, coaches, and teachers, the things we share are important on the field and in the classroom, and carry over to all aspects of our lives. Zett is never short on effort, perseverance, and grit. This will take her far.
How do her coaches feel about her? Well, most agree, you can only dream of having an athlete with all that she encompasses.
“Olivia is one of the most competitive, hardworking, and athletic players I have had the privilege of coaching at CHC. Her Leadership on and off the field is one of her greatest attributes, always putting the team first above herself. I know Olivia will do great things at The Ohio State University and look forward to her future successes in life,” said Coach Kate Kinnear.
“One or two lines is never enough for OZ,” commented Varsity Girls Soccer Coach Tina Lowry. “Olivia Zettervall is truly a special athlete and person. She has the innate ability to fiercely compete and then bring down the house with her smile and spirit. I’ve grown accustomed to the joy she brings to me as a coach and to her team. They can rely on her athletic ability in the hardest competitions and her personality when team/teammates need it most. To know that she is going to compete BEYOND Cape Henry comes as no surprise. She’s got the edge that coaches want in a player. I can put her in the goal or as a forward and she finds a way to impact the game. On a personal level, she has always been genuinely interested in me as a person outside of being her coach. I remember when my daughter was born. She handcrafted a beautiful necklace for me to wear with her name on it. Olivia is already a role model to my daughter and she doesn’t even know it yet. I am so excited about what she will do at the next level and furthermore, proud that I was able to cross paths with her on this journey.”
“Zett has left her footprint on the Cape Henry Collegiate Field Hockey program,” recalled Ms. Kim Dooren, Varsity Field Hockey Head Coach. “Her passion and drive are unmatched. Her knowledge of the game and her ability to get others on the same page is a true testament to her gift she unselfishly shared with others. As she walked onto the field with her smile and started to lead the team in the warm-up, one could notice the fire in her belly and her fierce eyes ready for the competition. Zett is going to be a huge asset to the Ohio State program, as I know she has just touched on the surface of her ability to play at the next level. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to coach such an amazing young lady.”
Olivia has attended CHC for the past seven years; and, in addition to her stellar athletic accolades, she has also contributed to Operation Smile, the Crush Cancer Club, and was on stage in the Bye Bye Birdie musical in the Sixth Grade.
Olivia offered words of advice for our younger students, “Try things that make you happy and do the things you want to do. You can make your own path, and have fun… don't take everything too serious.”
When asked about the impact of courses she has taken at CHC and her teachers, Olivia wanted to thank many of her current and past instructors. “AP Comp with Mr. McGraw. This class taught me I can do more than I thought, and even though it might be hard, the work will pay off. Next, Honors Anatomy with Tracey [Pinkin] has shown me I enjoy learning material related to the field of sports medicine. Finally, Mrs. Judge. She is just a teacher I will always remember because she taught me English for a year and a half. She makes us think and gets our writing where it needs to be and is always so positive. Lastly, Thank you Mr. McGraw and Mr. Marlow for always believing in me.”
“Thank you to all the coaches I have had at Cape Henry over the years, and thank you to my parents for always making things happen!” added Olivia. Yes, well done, Pam and Chris Zettervall, you have much to be proud of!
“I am most looking forward to having a new start at a school and making new friends,” remarked Olivia. “This excites me because my OSU Field Hockey Class is already really close and we will make great memories, but making new friends is so exciting because it's a new connection. I am also super excited that I get to keep playing Field Hockey through college because it is my favorite thing to do. Lastly, I am looking forward to being an adult, although I will come home and see my parents, college makes you feel adult and like you are starting your own life.”
I think it’s important to note, Zett was recruited by Princeton University, Boston College, and the University of Delaware. Highly touted out of the 757 area, Olivia describes her decision to attend OSU, after many visits and phone calls, as ”Ohio State not only got my attention because of field hockey but the entire campus atmosphere. OSU values athletics and I feel is the right fit for me. I wanted a big campus, big football, and a coaching staff who I feel will make my entire collegiate experience worthwhile.” I think the Big 10 meets all of her “big” requirements.
What will Olivia miss about Cape Henry? “I will miss sports, my teachers, and the community,” recounted Olivia. “Cape Henry has taught me so many lessons and I have created good friendships and relationships with some teachers that I will always cherish.”
When asked if she had any regrets or additional advice, Olivia maintained, “Personally I don't have any regrets but make the most of everything, because it goes by very fast.” Yes, indeed, from Bye Bye Birdie to three state championships and three TCIS titles, it did fly by.
Olivia’s final contribution in her #9 field hockey jersey, was the winning goal on a stroke to capture the 2021 TCIS Invitational Tournament–“One More.” As her teammates rushed to celebrate the win, and her, it seemed a poetic ending to one of the best field hockey careers in school history. The emotion on her face, reciprocated by her coaches and teammates, spoke volumes about her remarkable impact on the program. An irreplaceable impact.
As I attempt to find a summation of an athlete who has meant SO MUCH to Dolphin Athletics, all I can come up with is “Thank You Zett!” Thank you for committing to three varsity sports season after season, in addition to pursuing your collegiate field hockey aspirations. Field hockey, soccer, basketball, swimming, track and field, you did it all! You gave us all you could give us, and we appreciate it. “One More” season left for you on a very talented Varsity Girls Soccer Team. Nothing would make me happier than to see you finish with another title, another banner, another ring…but most of all, “one more” opportunity for Zett to exemplify the true spirit of high school athletics. We are proud of every time you put on a Cape Henry Collegiate uniform! The Buckeyes made a great decision in choosing you!