WATERVILLE — All four finalists for the Miss Maine Field Hockey Award played for Eastern Maine high schools. That could be a factor today, as the East faces the West in the annual McNally Senior All-Star Field Hockey Game.
The game is scheduled for noon at Colby College, and is part of the Maine Field Hockey Association (MFHA) Field Hockey Festival. Katie Thompson, the coach at Nokomis and president of the MFHA, said there will be 30 teams representing about two dozen schools in the festival. Thompson added that the pairing of the all-star game and the festival had made for much bigger crowds.
“(Before), there was a slim turnout, and it was mostly parents of the players in the game,” Thompson said. “Really, the festival has given us the chance to showcase the game and highlight those senior athletes.”
The players eligible for the game are the seniors who earned all-state honors for their play last season. The four Miss Maine finalists — winner Kristy Bernatchez, Skowhegan’s Sarah Finnemore, Belfast’s Julia Ward, and John Bapst’s Elise Tilton — will all be playing today. Bernatchez’s older sister Katie was the East’s Most Valuable Player last year, and Tilton’s sister Emily had two assists in the East’s 3-2 victory last summer.
Other local players include Messalonskee’s Nikki Collier and Lynnae Luettich, Skowhegan’s Adriana Martineau and Makaela Michonski, Winslow’s Jen Poulin and Ali LeClair, Gardiner’s Brooke Davis, Lawrence’s Sasha Letourneau, Mt. View’s Brittany Masessa, Nokomis’ Taylor Lovley, and Waterville’s Jenna Gagnon.
Gorham coach Becky Manson-Rioux, the MFHA secretary, was in charge of contacting the players to determine whether they would be participating. Manson-Rioux said only four players said they would not be at the game.
“One has a trip to Europe, and the other three are working and couldn’t get the day off,” she said.
Manson-Rioux added that when she contacted the players, most responded very quickly.
“I think this is a real big deal for these girls,” she said. “These girls worked hard to be on the team, so I think that’s why they’re excited, is all their hard work is paying off.”
The festival is scheduled so it stops for everyone to be able to watch the all-star game. Thompson thinks that’s one of the best features of the setup.
“My favorite part about the all-star game is watching the fans — specifically the high school students — and how excited they get watching their teammates play,” Thompson said. “It gives them a little bit of an aspiration to play in that game when they’re a senior.”
Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243