Greely field hockey dazzles early
While the Greely field hockey team had a disappointing (by its standards) 2009 campaign, it is back in its accustomed spot near the top of the standings after a great start to the 2010 season.
The Rangers, who were a dominant Western B program at the start of the decade and won the 2003 state title, went just 8-7 a year ago, losing to Maranacook in the quarterfinals, but have made the most of what has been a very eventful and happy new year.
Greely opened in dramatic fashion, rallying to beat host Falmouth, 2-1, in overtime, on junior Ceci Hodgkins' overtime tally (junior Emily Curato had the other goal). The Rangers made the next game even more palpitating, winning, 3-2, in double OT, at Wells, a regional finalist a year ago. Hodgkins once again had a flair for the big moment, tying the score with a second half goal, then producing the winner as well.
If that wasn't enough, Greely won those two games without the services of fourth-year coach Kristina Lane Prescott, who was away from the team giving birth to a son, Caleb Joshua. Assistants Callie Chase (the mother of former Rangers standouts Amanda and Julia) and Rebecca Belmore filled in.
Considering the excitement Greely had produced, Prescott couldn't wait to return.
"It's good to be back," said Prescott. "I missed it. My husband was sick of me talking about field hockey and told me to get back. I've been so lucky to have the two coaches step up for me when I was gone. They did an unbelievable job.
"The overtime wins were big for confidence. Especially against Falmouth and Wells, who are always strong."
Saturday, Greely made it three straight in far less stressful fashion. Hosting Fryeburg, Hodgkins gave the Rangers an early 2-0 lead with a pair of tallies (assisted by sophomores Chelsey Andrews and Jessica Wilson). Sophomore Rachel Hanson scored on a scramble in front of the goal before halftime and junior Eliza Porter struck out of a scrum in the second half to help Greely triumph, 4-0.
"It's exciting," said Hodgkins, who's been in the middle of the action since her freshman year. "Every year's different. It's fun to just blend. We just clicked quicker this year than in the past. It's nice to get off to a fast start and get some wins under us. (Winning the two overtime games) was a perfect start. It really brought us together."
"We're shooting the ball and scoring this year," said Prescott. "(The girls) want it this year. They have the ability. We just play to win. They're really meshing well together. A lot of girls have improved from last year."
The whole roster has contributed to the team's success, while seniors Maggie Bower and Hannah McCord have both been solid in goal.
Monday, Greely fell to 3-1 after a 3-0 loss at defending regional champion York. The Rangers hoped to bounce back Wednesday when they hosted Gray-New Gloucester. A trip to Freeport (now coached by Rangers 2003 state game hero Sara Dimick) looms Friday and a visit to Gray-New Gloucester awaits next Tuesday.
Greely hopes to keep the good times rolling and to be in the hunt until the very end.
"I feel we believe in ourselves a lot," Hodgkins said. "We'll push ourselves as hard as we can and in the end it will pay off."
"It's a good start," Prescott added. "We'll take it. You never know what's around the corner. To come out of the gate with a tough schedule was really hard. We're doing great so far."
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org