Katherine (Bean) Donovan was arguably the best defensive field hockey player ever to play at Branford High School. Non-goalie defensive players have no “stats” to help judge their effectiveness so this assessment could only be made by very long-time coaches who observed them in action.
Katherine was a four-year starter for the Hornets. During her tenure the team compiled an outstanding 67-6-3 record, which included three Southern Connecticut Conference Championships and three CIAC Class M State Championships (2002, 2004, and 2005). In Beans “bad” year they lost in the state semifinals. During those four years Donovan set a record for most games ever played in the Branford Field Hockey program—77.
Bean was the only player in the McGuirk’s forty-plus years of coaching who said on the first day of practice “I want to play defense”. Play she did. Starting in every game for four years as a back on defense, she also rushed at the striker on corners, a task not for the faint of heart. Starting her freshman year, she was our stopper on offensive corners.
Several quotes from Cathy McGuirk’s team banquets used “unabashed enthusiasm”, “vocal and confident”, and “coach on the field”. After her freshman year McGuirk called her rookie- “seemingly fearless”.
Near the end of the 2005 State Championship game, a 1-0 win over Daniel Hand of Madison, Donovan was struck in the mouth and lost six teeth.
She won the rookie of the year award and defensive player of the year award in multiple seasons. In her junior and senior years, she earned our MVP award. Katherine was also chosen First team All-Southern Connecticut Conference, First Team New Haven Register All Area, and First team All-State.
After her senior season, Donovan was invited to play in the Annual Senior Field Hockey High School All-Star Game along with teammates and fellow Hall of Fame Inductees Caitlyn Buckanavage (2019) and Rachel Chamberlain (2018).
Donovan was also a four-year defensive starter in lacrosse, winning many awards, including the hustle award and defensive player of the year multiple times. She was also the team captain.
Katherine was a high honor student at Branford High School and Fairfield University, where she majored in Political Science and continued her field hockey career.
Katherine (now referred to as Kat) lives in Connecticut and is a Sales Manager for a tech company.