Caitlin Albert, right, led the Biddeford High field hockey team to the Class A state championship last fall. Press Herald photo by Brianna Soukup

Caitlin Albert knows she’s fortunate. When her family moved to Scarborough from Vermont for her freshman year of high school, it gave her the opportunity to play under some pretty good coaches.

She had Kerry Mariello in field hockey, Mike Murphy in basketball and Marcia Wood in lacrosse – all of whom have coached state championship teams. To this day, as the field hockey and girls’ lacrosse coach at Biddeford High, Albert still draws on the lessons they taught her, often quoting some of Murphy’s instructions.

“He always said it’s OK if you make a mistake,” said Albert. “But if you created a turnover you better be the first one to bust your butt to get the ball back. I tell that to my kids. That’s an accountability thing.”

This year, Albert showed she’s a pretty good coach of her own. She led the Tigers to the Class A state field hockey championship, upending powerhouse Skowhegan 4-3, and then led the lacrosse team to the program’s first playoff win in the spring. Albert is our choice as the Varsity Maine girls’ team Coach of the Year.

Albert, 32, had an aptitude for coaching while a student at Scarborough High. “She was kind of the kickoff to our success,” Mariello said of Scarborough’s field hockey program. “She already had a strong foundation in field hockey when she came into high school. But she set the tone for the other girls with her work ethic and what it takes to be successful.”

Albert said Mariello was the “toughest coach I ever had” and that she was probably the most influential. “I learned from her everything I can apply to coaching now,” said Albert. “I learned that hard work pays off. We were held accountable for everything. She taught me if you want something bad enough you’ll find a way to get it.”

Mariello said Albert, who has been the Tigers coach for five years, got the Biddeford players to buy into her vision.

“She lit a flame in them,” said Mariello, who played at Biddeford on the 1990 state championship team. “She believed in them and knew how to persuade them to follow her philosophies.”

The Biddeford field hockey season was not without adversity. The Tigers lost senior center midfielder Hailey Allen to a knee injury in the regional semifinals. Albert knew she could move some players around to cover positions, but she was concerned about their mental state. Heck, she was concerned about her own mental state.

“Oh my gosh, my stomach was in knots,” said Albert. “But I didn’t want to show my emotions to our players. I had to remind myself of that before our practice. I tried to be as positive as possible. I gave people new roles and got the girls on board with everything. That’s when I knew we could do this.”

Taylor Wildes, the Biddeford goalie who graduated this spring, said Albert “was always positive but held everyone accountable if they weren’t meeting the expectations of what she knew they could do. She expected a lot of our team and she held us to that high standard all year.”

Field hockey is a tight-knit community. And Albert leans on Mariello’s coach, Madeleine Goulet, a teacher at at Biddeford High, for advice. “Kerry (Mariello) told me that everything she learned about field hockey, she learned from Madeleine,” said Albert. “And I get to speak to her every day.”


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