The University of Maine field hockey program has received verbal commitments from two Maine all-state juniors.
Midfielder Hannah Abbott, the leading scorer at Cheverus High of Portland, and forward Sydney Meader, who set the Boothbay Region High School single-season record for goals last fall (24), will attend UMaine beginning in the fall of 2018.
Abbott is the daughter of former UMaine athletic director and Orono native Steve Abbott and the granddaughter of former Black Bears head football coach and interim AD Walter Abbott. She earned all-state honors last fall and was selected to the Southwestern Maine Activities Association first team.
Abbott said she grew up cheering for UMaine so playing for the Black Bears will be, “a dream come true.
“I am excited to represent the state that I love, get an incredible education and play on a top-tier Division I field hockey team,” she said in a news release. “Coach Babineau was the one who first introduced me to field hockey so I am especially pleased to have the chance to play for her.”
Abbott is also a track athlete at Cheverus, competing in the sprints and the shot put.
Meader, whose 48 career goals are also a school record, was a first-team All-Mountain Valley Conference selection last season after being a second-team pick her first two years.
She is a two-time Maine Field Hockey Association all-state selection.
She also plays lacrosse and basketball for the Seahawks.
“Sydney has a great knack for scoring,” said Boothbay Region field hockey and girls lacrosse coach Donna Jordan. “She has a good arsenal of shots. She knows when she needs to lift the ball and also when she needs to get a hard shot off. She also has great speed.
“And she has really brought an aerial game to our team that we didn’t have before,” added Jordan. “When you can flip a ball 25 to 30 yards downfield, it is a much quicker way to advance the ball.”
Meader, who plays club field hockey for Black Bear Elite, has an exceptional work ethic according to Jordan.
“She loves the game. That’s her passion. And she is always trying to improve. She wants to be the best she can be at it. She puts a lot of time into it,” Jordan said.
Meader said she is, a “little nervous but very excited” about playing at UMaine.
“I visited a few weeks ago and the players were very welcoming. They were a blast to hang out with,” said Meader. “I knew I wanted to stay close to home so my mother and family and coach [Jordan] could watch me play.”
She attended UMaine field hockey camps and played for former UMaine assistant Courtney Veinotte with Black Bear Elite. She said she likes Babineau and Veinotte, who recently took a job at Hofstra, and that also played a role in her decision.
The 5-foot-8 Meader has grown more than six inches since she entered high school and she expects to grow a little more.
“But, hopefully, not too much more because my mother is getting tired of buying me new jeans every year,” quipped Meader, the daughter of Michelle Bouchard and Bernie Meader.
She hopes to further develop her stick skills and her shot.
Abbott led the Stags with 14 goals last season and has scored over 40 in her three-year career. She was chosen Cheverus’ fall female athlete of the year.
“Hannah was a force both offensively and defensively,” Cheverus coach Sally Cloutier said in a story in the Forecaster. “She’s mentally and physically tough, takes her play seriously and expects the same of her teammates.
“Hannah is a playmaker, smart with the ball, fast and explosive, as well as poised defensively. We looked to her in many tight and difficult games. She will be a force again next year.”
In a news release from the Coastal Field Hockey Club, head coach Dani Ryder said, “Hannah went to several national recruiting venues with our club, where her scoring ability and speed attracted a lot of attention from college coaches across the country. Coach Babineau has built a strong tradition of exceptional field hockey for the Black Bears and Hannah is a tremendous addition to their prominent program.”
The women’s participation at UMaine is contingent upon them being accepted by the school and meeting NCAA eligibility requirements.