Hailey Allen didn’t get the chance to play in Biddeford High’s 4-3 Class A field hockey state championship game victory over Skowhegan last fall. She had suffered a torn ACL in the regional semifinals, ending her season.

And that’s why Saturday’s annual McNally senior all-star field hockey game has special meaning for Allen. It will be the first time she plays since injuring her knee.

“It truly means a lot to me,” said Allen, who will play at Merrimack College, which is moving up to NCAA Division I. “I looked forward to playing in this senior all-star game, then once the injury occurred and I found out I had made the all-star team, I was really bummed. I worked hard to get back to it.”

The senior all-star game is the centerpiece of Saturday’s Maine Field Hockey Festival at Thomas College in Waterville. Forty teams from across the state will play in games – seven-against-seven for 25 minutes – from 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. The all-star game will be played from noon to 1 p.m. Tickets cost $5 for adults, $3 for seniors and students and $15 for families, with proceeds going to Camp Sunshine.

“This is a celebration of the sport in our state,” said Thornton Academy coach Lori Smith. “”It’s all about field hockey.”

Nearly 50 graduated players will compete in the all-star game. For some, like Gorham’s Sarah Stevens, it will be a final game before college. She will attend Boston College but won’t play field hockey there. For others, like Allen and Falmouth’s Liberty Ladd, it’s a last game against high school competition before playing in college.

“It’s actually a little surreal,” said Ladd, a midfielder who will next play at MIT. “It’s the culmination of four years of hard work in a way that celebrates everything we’ve done. It’s in a competitive manner, but a cooperative manner. We’ve spent the last four years playing against each other, the seniors in the South and in the North, now we’re playing on the same team.

“And we’re all there to play field hockey. It’s a great way to end your high school career by playing together one last time.”

Maine Central Institute’s Victoria Friend noted that as well. She’ll get to play again with cousin and teammate Madisyn Hartley, but also with former opponents like Maliea Kelso and Lizzie York (Skowhegan), Weslee Littlefield and Maddie Beckwith (Winslow) and Aimee Adams (Gardiner).

“I have a lot of friends from the Skowhegan and Messalonskee area, and they’re obviously very highly skilled at field hockey, so I think that’ll be fun to get the chance to play with them,” said Friend, who’ll play next at Husson. “I also played against them in our club field hockey teams. … I’m really looking forward to playing with them, finally, instead of being their opponent.”

Stevens, who played in the midfield for Gorham, may play club field hockey in college, but this will be her last competitive game. She’s hoping to win – “Of course,” she said. “I’m still competitive at heart.” – but really wants to soak in the entire day.

“These are the girls I played with and against for years and years,” said Stevens.”So it means a lot to me. I want to end it on a good night, for my family and for my friends who will be watching.”

Allen is thrilled she can get on the field again. After many months of rehab, she received clearance to play again a couple of weeks ago. She has been running and doing stick drills for a couple of weeks, but plans on taking it easy in her first game back.

“A few minutes here, a few minutes there,” said Allen, a center midfielder. “I don’t want to push it too far. I am proud of myself that I made this accomplishment, and there’s also a big sense of relief that, ‘Yes, I can play again.’ “

And she’s glad that her high school coach, Caitlin Albert, is going to be on the sidelines during the game, along with York’s Nora Happny and Spruce Mountain’s Jane DiPompo for the South team. “We’ve been through so much together the last four years,” said Allen. “Having this last game with her is a good good-bye kind of thing.”

Albert, who is entering her sixth season as Biddeford’s head coach, said it’s going to be an emotional game for her. “I care so much for (Allen) as a person and this was her goal,” said Albert. “It’s been a rough last six-seven months for her. This is a perfect end to her high school career.”

A similar reunion will take place on the North side, where Gardiner’s Adams, who is taking her career to St. Joseph’s in the fall, will play a final game under Sharon Gallant, who is coaching alongside Skowhegan’s Paula Doughty and Winthrop’s Jess Merrill.

“At the end of our season I was sad, (thinking) I’m never going to play with my team again, and I thought she wouldn’t be my coach again,” Adams said. “I grew so much with her as my coach. I used to have a terrible attitude, but she changed that. She really made me a better person on and off the field.”

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