Danica Hurley knew for several weeks that she would attend the University of Maine to play soccer.

On Wednesday, the Richmond High School senior made it official.

Hurley faxed her Letter of Intent to UMaine women’s soccer coach Scott Atherley on Wednesday morning, wrapping up a long recruiting process.

“I knew I was already going there but this makes it official,” said Hurley, who helped the Bobcats win a pair of Class D state championships. “It takes a lot of weight off my shoulders. I focused a lot on Maine. A big goal of mine was to go there and play there.”

Wednesday was national signing day for college recruits.

Maranacook senior Abby Mace said she is heading to the University of Connecticut, where she’ll compete in cross country and track and field. UConn women’s cross country coach Andrea Grove-McDonough said she is still awaiting official documentation, but added Mace was already accepted and has paid a registration fee to enroll.

“I’m very excited,” said Mace, who finished seventh in the New England cross country championships with a time of 18 minutes, 40 seconds. “UConn is a good fit. I know it will be a big transition.”

Hurley scored 38 goals this fall and finished her high school career with 104.

Atherley said they watched her play a few times, including a Western D semifinal game against Rangeley. Hurley scored her 100th career goal in that game, a 6-0 Richmond victory.

“She’s just good at finishing,” Atherley said. “When she gets a chance, she just puts it on the frame of the net. We hope that translates at the next level. She’s just energetic, competitive and hard-working, and she hates to lose. All of those things we value.”

Hurley will not receive an athletic scholarship to play for the Black Bears, who compete in America East and went 5-9-1 last season. However, Atherley said that could change.

“She has a spot on the team, that’s a given,” he said. “She does not have a scholarship but all players have the ability to earn it if they don’t receive one initially.”

Added Hurley: “Until I get that, that’s going to push me. It’ll drive me for it. I plan to work really hard.”

Like Hurley, Mace also will not receive an athletic scholarship, at least not at first.

“We have a lot of kids who earn their scholarships,” said Grove-McDonough, who is also an assistant women’s track and field coach. “About 75 percent to 85 percent of the kids I have on significant scholarships now didn’t have one when they came here. Abby was definitely recruited.

“We like her potential. I think she’ll come in and people will be like, ‘Where did she come from?’ She kind of flies under the radar. I’ve never recruited anyone out of Maine before until this year. I think her potential in Division I is huge.”

Hurley and Mace face potentially tough transitions from high school to Division I competition.

“Coming from a Class D school I know we don’t play the best opponents,” Hurley said. “I obviously realize it will be a lot different from what I am used to.”

Added Atherley, who just completed his 13th season at Maine: “I can’t forecast the impact she will have because you never know how they will adapt. The speed of the game will be her biggest challenge. But she is one of the most talented players in the state. We’re excited to have her and she has a lot of qualities that you want to harness.”

Mace, who is skiing this winter at Maranacook, will also run indoor track at UConn.

“I’ve never done indoor track before,” she said. “So I’ll be doing something new and different. I’ll miss skiing but this will be fun. I don’t really know what to expect. I won’t even be close to the fastest runner on the team. In the fall, I’d like to make the top 10 on the team, but that will be hard. It’s hard to tell how I’ll fit in. It’s going to be a challenge, but I’m looking forward to it.”

Bill Stewart — 621-5640

[email protected]


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