WILTON — It wouldn’t be field hockey season if Emma Rothkopf wasn’t banged-up and hurting somewhere on her body.
That’s how hard the Wilton High senior forward plays every time she picks up her stick and steps on the field.
Now, Rothkopf has gone and broken something else.
Only this time, it’s a school record.
In just her ninth game of the season, Rothkopf scored her 28th goal of the season, breaking the tradition-rich program’s mark for most goals in a season.
“I guess I’m just taking shots,” Rothkopf said, downplaying her new mark. “I’ve played forward for most of my field hockey career, so I’ve gotten plenty of practice. Also, my teammates have been doing great passing the ball up the field, so we’ve been getting more scoring opportunities.”
Rothkopf has a tradition of scoring some pretty big goals for the Warriors.
Her penalty stroke in double overtime against Staples last season pushed the Warriors into the FCIAC semifinals.
After that team lost eight starters, Rothkopf became one of the leaders of this year’s team, which has raced out to a 10-0 start.
“I think I knew I’d have to step up a little more this year, but the first day of the preseason I knew everybody would do great and it would come together,” Rothkopf said.
And Rothkopf is a team player first and foremost.
“The thing about Emma is she’s super humble,” Wilton coach Liz Pisko said. “You’d never know she was this fantastic. She’s very much the definition of a team player.”
Last fall, after a move from defense to the front, Jessica Hendry broke Amy Drummond’s 9-year-old school record and finished with 27 goals.
In a game at Westhill last week, Rothkopf did her one better and has already increased the mark to 29.
“We couldn’t believe it. She was at 27 so early in the season. It’s like what else can she do?” Pisko said. “Even after she broke the record, all she said was, ‘OK, thank you, Coach.’ ”
As a child, Rothkopf started her athletic career as a soccer player, like many children do.
“I played soccer as a kid, but I wasn’t very good,” she said with a laugh. “My mom played field hockey and said, ‘Emma, try field hockey.’ I tried it and it stuck.”
As a she developed as an athlete and player, one other trend began to stick out.
Rothkopf’s motor has one speed and it doesn’t turn off, much to the chagrin of her body sometimes.
“Her drive and determination is to always give 110 percent and it’s present at practices and games,” Pisko said. “She’s just super, super tough.”
She suffered a serious shoulder injury last season, but bounced back and is still playing through a typical season of dings this season.
“I still have some injuries, but it’s as close to 100 percent as I’m going to get,” Rothkopf said. “I just think it’s a love of the game that keeps me going. I love playing field hockey and I know my teammates are counting on me. I think it’s a combination of those two things.”
All the hard work and effort has paid off.
Rothkopf will be taking her talents to Brown University in the fall, playing Division I field hockey.
“When I stepped on the campus at Brown, it felt like home. It was an ‘Aha!’ moment,” she said. “It all clicked. It was a perfect fit.”
Pisko knows Rothkopf’s best days are still to come.
“Her skills are amazing,” the second-year head coach said. “Every single game she shocks us with a different type of shot or moving the ball up field. She has the skill and athleticism and is such a leader. She wants everybody else to do their best. She’s special.”
Including playoffs, Rothkopf still at least eight games left to push the new school mark even higher.
She isn’t worried about any final tally, though. At least not in any category other than wins.
“Our goal is to win first,” she said. “But for smaller goals it’s to keep working as a team, passing the ball up the field, working on our transition game, things like that. It’s the small things.”
All those small things have added up to one big school record for Emma Rothkopf.