What sticks out about Camden Cone — besides her defensive abilities — is what doesn’t stick out. As a top-10 student at Gardiner Area High School and an all-state field hockey player, she could probably talk herself up as well as anybody. She just doesn’t.

“She’s really quite a kid,” Gardiner field hockey coach Sharon Gallant said. “She’s one of those kids who walks the walk, but doesn’t necessarily talk the talk. She’s more of a ‘getting it done’ type of girl, instead of talking about getting it done.”

Cone will be playing for the East in the McNally Senior All-Star Field Hockey Game, which is noon, Saturday, at Thomas College. The game is named after recently retired Gardiner coach Moe McNally, who coached the Tigers (with Gallant as her assistant) all four of Cone’s seasons.

“She was, by far, the strongest defensive player in our conference,” McNally said of Cone, “and one of the finest center backs I have ever coached.”

As you might expect from such a quiet player, Cone played a quiet position. She was the starting center back her final three seasons at Gardiner.

“I have always been defensive-oriented,” Cone said. “That’s always been what I wanted to play, ever since I started to play field hockey. When my mom taught me how to play field hockey, defense is what she emphasized.”

Cone said she even extended that defensive mindset to when McNally played her at forward. As Cone tells it, she’d still hang back, wanting to be that last line of defense. But then, few were better than she was defensively.

“She was so steady for us,” Gallant said. “If you got by her, you had really, definitely done something. She was just a stone wall back there. As a result of being so steady, she also started our offense a number of times.”

While she always wanted to play defense, Cone was used on offensive penalty corners and occasionally at forward. She scored three goals as a senior.

“That was really exciting,” Cone said. “Those were the first goals I scored in high school at all.”

She vividly remembers her first goal, which came on a penalty corner.

“It was on the opposite side,” Cone said. “It came across, and I hit it in. As the ball came across and I saw it, I was like, ‘This is going in. I’m up here, this is what I’m supposed to do, and it’s never happened before.'”

Gallant paints Cone as the kind of person who doesn’t say much, but when she does, it’s always meaningful and accurate. When Cone talks about her choice of Connecticut College (Gallant jokes that Cone clearly has a thing with Cs), Cone begins to gush.

“It’s a small liberal arts school, and I really like that about it,” she said. “Also, when I stepped on the campus, it was so gorgeous. I feel like everyone says this, but when I was there, it felt like where I was supposed to be. It felt like home.”

Cone will also be playing field hockey for the Camels, and that’s another thing Gallant feels she’ll do very well.

“Oh, she’ll be fine,” Gallant said. “She’s so physically strong, and she’s so bright. She’ll be absolutely fine. She’ll take it all in, and figure out what needs to be done, and make it happen.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

Twitter: @Matt_DiFilippo

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