WATERVILLE — A celebration of field hockey mixed with a bittersweet goodbye to some of the top Maine players under puffy gray skies Saturday at the seventh annual Maine Field Hockey Festival.

An event that ends the high school careers for the Moe McNally All-Stars also stamps the beginning for many looking to make their mark in 2015, the festival drew a record 38 teams to Thomas College for a full day of scrimmaging.

At noon, everyone converged on Bernatchez Field to watch the all-stars.

“It’s definitely the last high school hoorah,” Gardiner’s Abby Dyer said.

High school field hockey fans got one last chance to cheer on some of the best players of the last four years at the McNally All-Star Game.

The West won the game, 2-1.

Neither side mustered many scoring chances in the first half, and East goalie and MVP Karen Noble of John Bapst made several spectacular saves. Abigail Smith of Freeport finally broke up the standoff about nine minutes into the second half to put the West up, 1-0. Meg Dowd of Camden Hills’ scored the equalizer for the East with 4:33 remaining. But Falmouth’s Elle Fitzgerald, the West MVP, knocked home the game-winner with 3:06 remaining.

Winslow’s Alyssa Wood played her last game for coach Mary Beth Bourgoin and with fellow Winslow back Brooke Haskell on the same field where the Black Raiders won the Class C state title nine months ago.

“Brooke and I were always back there throughout high school, so that was a nice reunion,” said Wood, who will enroll at Wesleyan University. “It was a little sentimental. On the way over I was thinking this is the last high school thing that I’m ever going to do.”

The teams don’t get much of a chance to get to know one another, just a half-hour to stretch and practice a little bit before game time.

“We try to get names and numbers down and who you’re going to be around,” said Dyer, who will play for Husson University in the fall. “After a few minutes in the game, you pick up how they play.”

Oak Hill’s Hayley Marshall reconnected with some former club teammates and marveled at the talent with her on the field.

“Some of the East girls I know better, but meeting all of these new girls, it was just great,” she said. “It felt amazing to play with all of this high skill level.”

“You look at the players at this level and you just think, “Holy cow,'” Gardiner and East coach Sharon Gallant added. “All of them have these incredible moves, they’re that fast, they defend well. Just to play with an entire team of elite players is just incredible.”

Gallant said goodbye to one of the captains of her 2014 Eastern B champion Tigers in Dyer on Saturday, although they’ll see plenty of each other as aunt and niece before Dyer leaves for Husson.

Marshall, meanwhile, heads to Orono in a few weeks to play at the University of Maine. She was ready to close this chapter of her field hockey career.

“I’m going to miss it a lot, but I’m just really excited to go to the next level and start a new journey,” she said.

The Maine Field Hockey Association donated proceeds from this year’s festival to the Center for Grieving Children.

Other local all-stars included: Kersey Boulay (Mount View), Rylie Blanchet and Renee Wright (Skowhegan), Mackenzie Winslow (Winslow), Arika Brochu and Madeline Reny (Cony), Katie Hughes (MCI), Mikayla Charters (Nokomis) and Victoria Newbill (Mt. Blue).

Bourgoin, Gallant and Skowhegan’s Paula Doughty served as East coaches.

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33


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