At an Oak Hill field hockey game this fall, a player for another team was injured. As she watched Oak Hill’s Hayley Marshall dribble the ball through the defense, the girl remarked, “I could watch her play all day.”

A lot of people had that reaction while watching Marshall play, including Oak Hill coach Betsy Gilbert and her assistant, Janet Baril.

“I would talk to my assistant coach, Janet, like, ‘Did you just see that?'” Gilbert said. “At times we would just be like, ‘Look at her go.'”

As a senior this fall, Marshall finished with 15 goals and 18 assists, leading the Raiders to an undefeated regular season and a spot in the Western C final. That makes Marshall the choice as the Kennebec Journal Field Hockey Player of the Year. Also considered were Cony’s Arika Brochu and Gardiner’s Abby Dyer.

“I definitely knew we were going to do really good this season,” Marshall said. “The chemistry was there and we were just working so hard. I knew we could get as far as we did.”

Oak Hill had three players on the Mountain Valley Conference first team and three more on the second team, but Marshall made the team go as its center forward.

“She just brings such a dynamic to our field,” Gilbert said. “She knows how to read and react what the other team is doing, and make things happen. She can be in a cluster of people, and weave her way right out of there.”

Amy Bernatchez, who runs the Maine Majestix Club team with her husband, Brian, sought out Marshall to play for Majestix. There are 11 Majestix alumni who graduated in 2012 or 2013 that went on to play at Division I universities, and several more talented players on the roster, but it was Marshall who played at center midfielder.

“I absolutely adore Hayley Marshall,” Bernatchez said. “I met her probably about three years ago. She attended my camp and we were just so impressed with her natural athleticism and how good she was with very little training. She’s one of the most gifted athletes we’ve ever, ever worked with.”

“Just practicing with the girls on that team is such an experience,” Marshall said. “They’re all so good, and they have such good skills. It just improved my skills.”

Not only was Marshall’s game improved, but the team around her was better. That hit home in the fifth game of the season, when Oak Hill shut out Lisbon, 4-0.

“That was the first time we beat Lisbon,” Marshall said. “I think that game gave us the push that we needed, to tell us that we could make it and we could do good things together.”

Oak Hill finished 13-0-1 in the regular season and Marshall worked around a demanding schedule to be the Raiders’ spark plug.

“She’s up at the school at 5 o’clock in the morning,” Gilbert said. “She’s in the weight room. This kid was working two jobs while playing field hockey and she still kept her grades up.”

“It didn’t leave a lot of time for free time,” Marshall said. “I just went to school, went to practice, go to work, go to sleep and basically repeat it the next day.”

Oak Hill’s season ended in the Western C final. The Raiders lost 2-1 to Lisbon in double overtime.

“We just played our hearts out and we came close so many times,” Marshall said. “The way it ended really hurt, but I knew we gave it our all.”

Gilbert describes Marshall as exceedingly humble, so Marshall doesn’t necessarily see herself as a Division I recruit.

“I would love to play Division I,” Marshall said. “That’s been my dream since I was little. But honestly, to play in college anywhere would be a dream come true.”

Bernatchez, though, has a different perspective, one that comes with having coached several future Division I players over the years.

“I’m excited to see what happens with her at the next level,” Bernatchez said. “I think when a college coach gets working with her, she’s going to be a real standout Division I player.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

Twitter: @Matt_DiFilippo


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