Preview of Falcon field hockey team
RUMFORD -- There will be plenty of changes for the Mountain Valley field hockey team, who need to start over following last year's success.
The Lady Falcons advanced furthest in their history, winning three playoff games before falling shy in the western regionals.
The Falcons finished 11-5-2 after excelling in the second season. They triumphed 4-0 against No. 10 Wells in a preliminary game and then recorded upset wins on the road over No. 2 Fryeburg Academy by 2-0 and No. 3 Spruce Mountain by 3-2 in the quarterfinal and semifinal, respectively.
The team returns five letter winners and needs to develop cohesiveness, combined with a greater degree of confidence. This includes seniors Alexa Fryover, midfield; Makenzie Gallant, defense; front liners Nicole Burgess and Peyton Provencer, and junior Kayla Pingree. Burgess utilized her speed and was the leading scorer, along with Provencer. The Falcons offense distribution (51 goals scored in 2011), which prevents opposing teams from double teaming.
"We are working on all of the basic skills and getting comfortable with some position changes during the preseason,” said coach Melissa Forbes. “The girls are excited and looking forward to the new season Our frontline high scorers are back and ready to go."
The newcomers need to contribute, led by seniors Vanessa Swett - goalie; Addy Gorham (D) and Taylor Dickson (MF); and juniors Alyson Carlton (F); Nikki Couch (MF) and Ellie Hall (D). Freshman Alexys Duguay will be in MF.
Forbes said the new varsity goalie (Swett) has been working with last year's alumni goalie (Emily Gallant, 17 goals allowed, seven shutouts) and feeling good about her progress. "There are plenty of new faces and changes to get used to but I expect this team to get stronger with each and every game."
Graduation took its toll with Gallant and MF Chelsea Bordeau (both playing for St. Joseph's College); defenders Makayla White, Chelsea Gauvin and Sydney Yahn; all-state MF Ayla Allen and frontliners Becca Maifeld, Sam Glover and Whitney Ruff.
"I am sure Spruce Mountain, Lisbon and Winthrop will be all be strong this year," said Forbes, based on their returning lettermen from last year's successful seasons. "And Telstar has great coaching and athletes so you can never count them out."