After a stellar field hockey career at Belfast Area High School, Sarah Woods has decided to transfer her special stick talents to Saint Anslem College in Manchester, N.H.

Woods signed her national letter of intent to play for the Division II Hawks on Wednesday, Nov. 18 at the high school. She verbally committed to attend and play sports at the college in February.

Woods was a three-year varsity player for the Lions, who finished 6-0, and outscored opponents 31-0 (Woods even had the game-winner in a 1-0 victory over Waldo County rival Mount View of Thorndike in one game) in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.

"Sarah was a big part of our success this season, winning six games in a row and not allowing any goals," said longtime Belfast coach Jan Holmes-Jackson. "Sarah is a tremendous athlete and has been a great asset to our Belfast field hockey program. Also, Sarah is a great leader on and off the field. Her presence and talent will be greatly missed next season. Saint Anselm will be lucky to have Sarah be a part of their program."

In 2019, Woods helped the Lions finish as Class B North runners-up, as she was voted outstanding defensive player and had the team's most defensive saves. Holmes-Jackson said Woods started as the team's center back. "She was very tough in this role, helping us have a very successful season."

Things were a bit different in 2020, which started later than usual and abruptly ended due to COVID-19.

"This season Sarah was one of our captains and played in the center-mid position," Holmes-Jackson said. "She was a big part in our offensive penalty corners and defensive penalty corners."

Woods scored six goals and added an assist. In her career, she finished with a trio of nines — nine goals, nine assists and nine defensive saves. She was voted the team's most valuable player and earned a spot on the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference all-academic team.

"Sarah was filled with joy at the signing," said BAHS athletic director Matt Battani. "So great to see her feel that way given the difficulties this year. She has done all the right things over the years. It is wonderful to see a student that sets a great example with their actions also be one to celebrate this kind of recognition."

Woods started playing field hockey in the Belfast youth program, under coach Allen Holmes. At an early age one could see Woods was competitive and possessed a strong work ethic.

Woods came to love the sport playing for the club team Black Bear Elite, owned and coached by Courtney Veinotte, a standout University of Maine player from Skowhegan and now head coach of Hofstra University in Nassau County, N.Y. In 2017 Woods started playing for Maine Majestix, owned and coached by Kelly Terwilliger, head coach at Colby College in Waterville.

Woods continues to play for Maine Majestix and participated in USA Field Hockey for years. She was chosen for the National Futures Team in 2017 and 2019.

In 2018 Woods was named to the “watch list,” by MAX Field Hockey, being recognized as one of the top 150 players in the country for her age.

Woods is going to a strong college field hockey program, one with national championship ambitions.

In 2019, Saint Anslem finished 20-3 overall, including 13-1 in the conference. In late November a year ago, the squad, which plays in the New England 10 Conference and is led by head coach Carolyn King-Robitaille, eventually lost to No. 1 West Chester University of Pennsylvania 2-1 in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II championship game in Millersville, Pa.

Last month, the NCAA chose Saint Anslem to host the Division II field hockey national championship game in 2023.

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