WATERVILLE — Erica Blake says both Sacred Heart and the University of Maine — Division I field hockey schools — showed interest in her coming out of Skowhegan Area High School. But Blake ended up going to Division III Thomas College after a visit to the Waterville school.

“I liked it,” Blake said. “It’s a small campus. I didn’t really want to play D-I when I got out of high school. I wanted to focus on school, and just be able to play field hockey.”

Blake started every game at left back as a freshman at Thomas last fall. This year, she starts at center midfield and has scored three goals in eight games.

“She’s really skilled,” Thomas coach Andrea Thebarge said. “She really goes after the ball. She doesn’t stop, the whole game. No matter where it is, she wants to go get it. She’s very, very aggressive; very good skill player.”

By nature, the center midfielder is the quarterback on the field, except the center mid must play both offense and defense at a high level. Though most of Blake’s experience is in the backfield, Thebarge said Blake’s skills and leadership would translate well to the midfield.

“She’s played the game, she understands the game, and she just has a leadership role when she’s on the field,” Thebarge said. “She’s not the vocal kid, but she leads by her actions. And we wanted to give her more opportunities offensively. She didn’t really do much besides corners last year. She can help our offense, and gets it going.”

Blake not only played back as a freshman at Thomas, she was also mainly a back at Skowhegan under coach Paula Doughty.

“In the beginning, when I started playing for Doughty, she had me play left mid,” Blake said. “So I was kind of used to playing there, but it took a lot to get used to. I’m still learning a bunch of things about center mid, like staying up, or when to be back. It’s much different than playing back.”

Learning to be more of a leader is also part of Blake’s adjustment to the new position.

“I’ve got to get used to that also,” she said. “I need to talk more on the field, but it’s going well so far.”

The Terriers begin their North Atlantic Conference schedule with a home game Saturday against Husson. Thomas has won two in a row after a 1-5 start.

“I think we’re getting a lot better,” Blake said. “We just need to work on our passing game, and talking to each other, moving the ball up the field. But so far, so good right now. We started off a little rough, but it’s getting better.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

Twitter: @Matt_DiFilippo

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