It was no accident Autumn Littlefield’s game took a quantum leap this fall. The Messalonskee sophomore put in critical work in the offseason, on and off the field.

On the field, Littlefield faced some of the best competition in the country at the U-19 national championship as well as the National Futures championship and Junior Olympics. Along the way she caught the eye of college scouts and eventually made a verbal commitment to play for Boston College once she graduates.

Off the field, Littlefield began lifting weights three times a week, becoming stronger, faster and more confident. It added up to a banner high school season for her and the Eagles. For her efforts, Littlefield is the Morning Sentinel Field Hockey Player of the Year.

The Eagles finished at 14-3, losing to eventual state champion and rival Skowhegan in the regional championship game.

Littlefield started as a freshman for Messalonskee and was particularly effective on penalty corners due to her rocket shot. This season, Messalonskee coach Katie McLaughlin used her on defense, at midfield and in the front line depending on the opponent and the situation.

“She was much more of an offensive force for us,” McLaughlin said of Littlefield, who scored 11 goals and dished out eight assists. “She created a lot in transition.”

Littlefield, who was also selected Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A Player of the Year, has some of the best stick skills in the KVAC and put them to good use. They were further enhanced by her increased speed and athleticism.

“One of the big things is I started lifting,” she said. “My biggest concentration was overall speed and athleticism.”

Littlefield was a starter on the Messalonskee state championship lacrosse team last spring, but field hockey has always been her passion.

“It’s a huge part of my life,” she said. “I love the pace and the level of skill you need, plus the mental part of the game.”

On a team loaded with leaders and four Division I-bound players, Littlefield wasn’t afraid to have her voice heard.

“She was quite the leader on the field for a sophomore,” McLaughlin said.

She played the season recovering from a dislocated jaw she sustained at the U-19 championships after taking a stick to the face. She finished the game but eventually had to begin physical therapy for it in the high school season and missed a couple of games.

“It was a kind of a recurring thing,” she said.

The competition and skill work Littlefield gained playing for the Maine Majestix and indoor during the winter proved invaluable.

“Amy and Brian (Bernatchez) and Katie work with us in the offseason,” she said. “You have great competition even in practice.”

A Boston College assistant saw Littlefield play at the National Futures game in Pennsylvania and she later visited the campus in August and liked what she saw.

“It’s always been a dream school of mine,” Littlefield said. “It’s a great fit academically and athletically.”

Her goal during the offseason is to continue to get better, stronger and faster.

“These next two years of high school are probably going to be pretty fun for her,” McLaughlin said.

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