New coach, same tradition of excellence for Belfast
Belfast — The following is a synopsis of the 2013 Belfast Area High School field hockey team:
Coach/years coached current team: Jan Holmes-Jackson, first season.
Last year's record/playoff information: 11-1-2, No. 1 seed in Eastern Class B. The Lions defeated No. 8 Gardiner 3-2 in the quarterfinals, bested No. 5 Mount View of Thorndike 1-0 in the semifinals, defeated No. 3 Foxcroft Academy of Dover-Foxcroft in the regional championship and lost to Leavitt of Turner in the state Class B title game 1-0. The Lions also lost to Class A Skowhegan 8-0 in the KVAC championship in a crossover game.
Roster: Seniors Maddy Cummings, Savana Wood, Hannah Bailey, Kristine Mehuren and Dakota Ward; juniors Britt Littlefield, Casey Thayer, Maddy Littlefield, Maddy Pickering and Simone Pelletier; sophomores Kelci Faulkingham and Alicia Gaiero; and freshmen Kylie Nelson and Morgan Fernald.
Known graduation losses: Katrina Lapham, Lexi Nelligan, Julia Ward, Courtney Drinkwater, Logan Blood, Kaysea Harford and McKenzie Thibodeau.
Significant impact players: Cummings, Maddy Littlefield, Mehuren and Wood.
Team strengths: Hustle and defense.
Team goals: To be one of the top teams in the KVAC Class B division and vie for a third straight regional title.
Top league opponents: Oceanside of Rockland/Thomaston, Mount View of Thorndike, Camden Hills, Winslow, Leavitt and Gardiner.
Outlook: The Lions unquestionably have a new look after Allen Holmes — Jan's dad — resigned as coach after 40 seasons, which paved the way for his daughter and former Lion student-athlete to take the reigns of the program.
Holmes-Jackson said things are going “very good” in her first year as coach of the Lions, after coaching the Camden Hills Windjammers nearly two decades.
“We're having a lot of fun, the girls are working hard [and] we're doing well,” she said. “We're figuring out some things where we need to be and who needs to play what for positions. They're young.”
The Lions have significant shoes to fill this season such as for Ward, who was a finalist for Miss Maine Field Hockey as a goalie; Nelligan, who was one of the team's top scoring options; and Lapham, arguably the team's top all-around player and Courier Publications female athlete of the year finalist.
Maddy Littlefield takes over in goal for the Lions as Holmes-Jackson said the junior is “working hard all the time” and “she will be coming on” this season. The coach said Mehuren and Wood also will be impact players this season, in addition to Cummings, who scored 20 goals last season and is the school's all-time leading scorer with 34 goals and 28 assists.
Cummings injured her shoulder at field hockey camp over the summer, but will play in the team's first regular season game against Winslow.
“She's running and she's starting to do some stickwork,” the coach said earlier in the preseason. “We'll have her for Winslow.