Several Mainers play key roles on UMaine Field Hockey team
ORONO, Maine (WABI) - Keeping talent in-state is always a good thing for the University of Maine, and the field hockey team has managed to do that pretty well.
Nine of the Bears 20 roster spots belong to Mainers, including Old Town’s Brooke Sulinski, Hampden’s Claire Scobie, Dexter grad Abby Weber, and Kelsey Mehuren from Belfast.
The Bears were picked to finish second in the America East preseason poll, but just a single point behind Monmouth, so it’s a conference they can certainly win.
And they’re expecting help from a couple of other locals to help get that done.
Former MCI standout Madisyn Hartley only needed to travel about 45 miles from Pittsfield to move to the next chapter of her field hockey career in Orono. But the Black Bear forward says her game has actually come a long way.
“I would say I’m a lot stronger as when I first came out as a freshman. I was more weak on the ball. This year I feel like I can use a lot more skill and just be more strong on the ball,” Hartley said.
Hartley started 14 games for the Bears as a freshman. Now a junior, she’s one of several Mainers playing key-roles on a team that should contend for an America East crown.
“She has amazing stickhandling skills and to see her be able to do this now at this level, just in practice you know she can do some things sometimes that people just don’t think of,” said Josette Babineau, UMaine Field Hockey head coach.
“I came in as a freshman, obviously I’m looking up to like the seniors but now I feel I can be considered one of them, like not senior obviously but upperclassmen that they’re gonna be looking up to me now,” Hartley said.
Hartley was a Miss Maine Field Hockey finalist in 2018, and one of the players she’s helping to make the transition to the next level is the award’s 2019 winner Bhreagh Kennedy, who played for Skowhegan, just fifteen miles down the road from Pittsfield.
“Madison and I come from a really similar situation coming from grass and then playing here. I think she’s had a great transition and I’m hoping to mirror that, so yeah, she’s been really good mentor,” said Bhreagh Kennedy.
Kennedy is a sophomore, and since COVID-19 wiped out her freshman season, hasn’t played a meaningful game since winning the state championship her senior year.
“She’s one of those players that we have to try to figure out her role and that’s really the next thing that she needs is that game experience at this level, just not really able to get that unless you’re thrown into the mix and she really just needs to have that,” Babineau said.
For Kennedy, getting thrown into the mix is something she’s more than ready for.
“I think it’s like indescribable how anxious I am to get out there and compete. Obviously, last year was just a learning year for me, I absorbed as much as I could. I’m super excited I can’t wait to get out there, get a uniform on. Yeah, it’s gonna be a great time,” Kennedy.
Ultimately, neither Hartley or Kennedy had to go very far to play for UMaine, but Hartley says she likes the idea of how far the Bears can go.
“We’re going all the way. We’re gonna hopefully win our conference, and then go on from there,” Hartley said.
Field Hockey opens the season Saturday at Boston College.
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