There are still a few more days to go before Lizzie York packs up and leaves to start her Division I field hockey career at Hofstra University. Or, make that just until she leaves.

The Skowhegan graduate is already pretty much ready to go.

“I’m very anxious,” she said. “Pretty much all my stuff is packed, I’ve been prepared for a while.”

It’s that time of the the year, where athletes either starting or resuming their college careers shift their focus from summer vacation to the fall season. Even though next week is the week most athletes return to start their preseasons, now is when they find themselves itching to get started.

Monmouth forward Avery Pomerleau, left,battles for possession of the ball during a 2017 game against Hall-Dale in Farmingdale. Kennebec Journal file photo by Joe Phelan

“Probably, honestly, last week it kind of just hit me,” said York, who leaves for Long Island on Monday. “I was like ‘Oh my God, I’ve only got two weeks left here.’ ”

York had already been getting ready for D-I competition long before.

“I’ve been running since I graduated high school, and going to the gym every day,” said York, who will have a former Skowhegan teammate in Haley Carter to help with the transition. “It’s definitely nerve-wracking, but I’m excited for it, (and) to see what it has in store. It’s definitely going to be challenging.”

York’s teammate for four years, Maliea Kelso, will also be getting started on her Division I career at Northeastern University. Kelso leaves for Boston on Tuesday.

“It didn’t really hit me until today,” she said on Tuesday. “This week, I was like ‘Oh, I have to get a laptop.’ I went to get a laptop and I was like ‘I have to get this,’ things I hadn’t gotten yet and I didn’t really think of until yesterday.”

Where Kelso doesn’t have to worry, though, is in terms of acclimating with her new team. Northeastern went to Argentina to play some games in June, and she got an early chance to bond with her future teammates.

“It was really heartwarming to know this will be my second home away from home,” she said. “Coming in next Tuesday will be super fun because I’ll say ‘Hey’ to all my friends, and they won’t think of me as a freshman, ‘We don’t know you yet.’ ”

Kelso also said she’s confident in her ability to handle the jump to D-I competition, given the players she’s played against and with both at Skowhegan and with the Maine Majestix.

“We played some pretty tough teams, and all those girls are going to Division I, Division II, Division III schools,” she said. “It’s a really high hockey level, and I think that will help me next year just adjust to things faster.”

For athletes going back to school, the excitement level is just as high. Madison’s Madeline Wood, who will be a junior at Saint Joseph’s College, returns to a women’s soccer team that went 16-5 and won the Great Northeast Athletic Conference championship.

“It definitely adds to the excitement, but it also puts a little bit of pressure on us for the season,” said Wood, who has to be at school by next Thursday. “We lost a good group of seniors, so we’re all just working towards getting back to the point where we were last season.”

Adding to Wood’s readiness to get started is the promise of a bigger role. She started seven games and had two goals and three assists last year, and with the top three scorers all graduating, she knows the focus will be on her to produce even more.

Madison forward Madeline Wood scores a goal during a 2016 game in Monmouth. Kennebec Journal file photo by Joe Phelan

“It’s definitely a role shift (from) ‘I’m looking to pass in the midfield’ to ‘Okay, I need to look to shoot, I need to look to score so our team can be successful,’ ” she said. “The pressure comes from ‘Okay, if I don’t score, are we going to win?’ ”

At Husson, Monmouth’s Avery Pomerleau is preparing for his sophomore season on the men’s soccer team after playing 19 games and starting four as a freshman. He reports back next Friday.

“I’ve been training all summer, but mostly probably a little bit after the Fourth of July,” Pomerleau responded when asked when he began to shift his concentration to the upcoming season. “After that day, when I was on the lake and having fun and on the boat and stuff, after that I was more focusing on the future and what was to come next year with soccer.”

Like Wood, Pomerleau is looking forward to a bigger role on the Eagles this season after playing often last fall.

“I was certainly excited about last year, but this year, I’d probably say I’m more excited, because I feel like I can make more of an impact,” he said. “Looking at the spots open, I’m going to be playing more of a part with playing time, and hopefully starting. That’s my goal. I want to push myself to start and compete as much as I can.”

Not all athletes will be back in action next week. Maranacook’s Silas Mohlar doesn’t rejoin the UMaine Farmington men’s soccer team until Aug. 24, but he said he’s getting the same feeling of restlessness.

“I feel a lot more excited, rather than nervous,” he said. “I’m excited, I know what it’s like, and I’m ready to get back on the field and start working hard.”

To get ready for the season, Mohlar has been training and practicing often with former teammate Jackson McPhedran, now a club player at the University of Vermont. A freshman back who played in all 17 games, Mohlar said that with a year under his belt, he’ll be able to focus entirely on the game.

“I know the pace of the game,” he said. “I’m already acclimated to the game, so it’s more working on my touches and stuff like that, rather than trying to fit in.”


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