A celebration of field hockey will take place at Thomas College in Waterville on Saturday as the annual Maine Field Hockey Festival and the Moe McNally Senior All-Star game take place.
The All-Star game will pit the senior All-State selections from the East against the West.
Thirty-five high school teams will participate in the festival as teams will be divided into pools and will each play four or five games against teams they won’t play during the regular season. The games are seven vs. seven as opposed to the normal 11 vs. 11, and the games will be played on two artificial turf fields. There will be three games going on at a time on each field.
The fields will be smaller and the games will last 25 minutes instead of the standard 60. They will be for players who still have high school eligibility.
The festival games will begin at 8 a.m. and the final games will start at 3:30 p.m.
There won’t be any festival games during the Senior All-Star game, which will start at noon.
“We want the younger girls to be able to watch the Senior All-Star game. It will give them something to aspire to,” said Mount Ararat of Topsham coach Krista Chase, a past president of the Maine Field Hockey Association.
There will be an admission fee of $5 per adult, but admission for a family won’t exceed $15. Admission will be $3 for students. The proceeds will go to domestic violence charity efforts.
“This will be a great venue for the Senior All-Stars because they will be able to show their skills against other quality players,” said Foxcroft Academy coach Stephanie Smith, who will be one of the East’s coaches. “And for the underclassmen, it’s a great opportunity to play field hockey and get some quality time on turf.”
There used to be just a Senior All-Star game, but Chase said officials decided seven years ago to add a festival so underclassmen could participate. The event has grown ever since.
“The festival has been amazing. Thirty-five teams is the most we’ve ever had,” said Chase, who used to coach at Augusta’s Cony High School.
Chase explained that when they put the pools of teams together for the festival, the first concern was making sure teams won’t face each other during the regular season.
For example, Smith said her Ponies are in a group with Scarborough, Leavitt of Turner, Lake Region of Naples, Greely High of Cumberland Center and Waterville.
Foxcroft won the state Class C title a year ago. Scarborough was the state runner up in Class A to Skowhegan.
“Then we tried to put evenly matched teams together,” said Chase.
Chase also noted that they have stopped giving out medals to the top three teams in each group because it meant having playoff games after pool play.
“lt became a real long day with the All-Star game in the middle. Quite frankly, we decided to just focus on getting the girls as many games as we could [without prolonging the day],” said Chase who added that the teams all get to play more games now.
The festival also gives coaches an opportunity to evaluate their players and teams before the upcoming two-week, hands-off period, mandated by the Maine Principals’ Association, from Aug. 4 to 18. Coaches can’t coach their girls during that period leading up to the start of preseason, but they will have been able to coach them earlier in the summer.
The coaches of the regional championship teams will coach the All-Stars. That means the East squad will be under the guidance of Skowhegan’s Paula Doughty, Nokomis of Newport’s Katie Thompson and Smith. Thompson has since left Nokomis for a job with the Portland-based Great Schools Partnership.
The West coaches will be Scarborough’s Kerry Mariello, York’s Barb Marois and North Yarmouth Academy’s Tracy Quimby.
Smith will get to coach two of her former standouts in Mackenzie Coiley and Amber Anderson.
“I’m looking forward to it. It’ll definitely be fun,” said Smith.
Also included on the list of Senior All-Star players will be Skowhegan midfielder Allison Lancaster, who was chosen Miss Maine Field Hockey, and fellow finalists Maddy Cummings of Belfast and Taylor Simpson from York. Cummings and Simpson were forwards.
The Senior All-Star game is named in honor of Moe McNally, who recently retired after spending 35 years coaching the Gardiner High School Tigers. She was also a founding member of the Maine Field Hockey Association, the Senior All-Star game and the Maine Field Hockey Hall of Fame.
Boothbay Lobster Jam set this weekend
The Fourth Annual Boothbay Lobster Jam, a high school girls varsity basketball tourney, will be held Friday and Saturday at the Boothbay Region high school and elementary school courts.
Games are scheduled from 12:30 to 8 p.m. on Friday and begin again at 9 a.m. on Saturday, running up to the championship contest at 8:30 p.m.
Teams competing will be Spruce Mountain of Jay, George Stevens of Blue Hill, Freeport, Thornton Academy of Saco, Oxford Hills of South Paris, Lisbon, Kennebunk, Lincoln Academy of Newcastle, Boothbay, Hermon, Newfound (New Hampshire), South Portland, Cheverus of Portland, Foxcroft Academy, Leavitt of Turner and Oak Hill of Sabattus.