The Nokomis High School field hockey team won the program’s first state championship a year ago when the Warriors blanked York 2-0 in the Class B title game.
And they have picked up where they left off.
The Warriors are 7-0-1 and have outscored their opponents 36-4.
They have won seven in a row after battling to a 1-1 overtime tie with Belfast to open the season.
Ninth-year head coach Katie Thompson acknowledged that they have a target on their backs but said it hasn’t impacted them in any way.
“We’ve just been taking things like we have any other year. That’s how the girls are treating it,” said Thompson. “Other teams have been getting amped up to play us. We know it. It just means we have to bring our intensity level up.”
Two of the key players the Warriors had to replace were goalie Maria Adams and forward Jordin McGinnis, who scored the game-winner in the 1-0 win over John Bapst of Bangor in their Eastern Maine Class B semifinal and had an insurance goal in the state title game.
“But we did have a pretty good group of players coming back and they have already stepped up for us,” said Thompson.
Thompson said her defense has been “real strong.”
“It’s one of our most consistent areas,” said Thompson. “We play really good team defense.”
A pair of seniors, Becca McGinnis, Jordin’s sister, and Becca Boyce, provide quality, communication and leadership in the back, according to Thompson.
McGinnis is the sweeper and Boyce is the left back.
“They are really essential,” said Thompson.
Sophomores Taylor Shaw and Kayla Braley start at center back and right back, respectively.
“They have real good speed. It’s a good combination,” said Thompson.
Sophomore Kendra Underhill has inherited the goalkeeping position.
“She has played well. She spent a lot of time preparing in the offseason. She was committed to getting better. The veterans on defense have supported her a lot. She has worked well with them,” added Thompson.
The midfield features senior captain Marissa Shaw, who is a four-year starter and had the game-winning goals in the 1-0 win over Mount View in the EM championship game and the state title contest.
She has eight goals already this season.
“She is the driving force in the midfield,” said Thompson.
Junior Taylor Lovley is the right midfielder, and Lindsay Whitney, a sophomore who started as a freshman last year, flanks Shaw on the left side.
Shaw is on both the offensive and defensive corner units.
Senior Leah Edmondson was the team’s second-leading scorer a year ago and she has already found the back of the cage 15 times.
“She has a great shot and a nose for the goal,” said Thompson.
Senior Brittany Dunton and sophomore Drew Graves are the other starters up front.
Thompson has also received valuable production off the bench from junior forwards Abbi Donaldson and Morgan Fredette and sophomore Kelsey Kerstetter, who can play in the midfield and in the back.
HODGDON GIRLS HANGING IN
Nobody on the Hodgdon High School girls soccer team is going to complain about playing time this season.
The Hawks began the season with 12 players, then sophomore Macy Palmer, one of the team’s best defenders, according to coach Anita Levesque, fractured her elbow.
That whittled the team down to 11.
And two of the players, including Levesque’s daughter Kimberly, are taking college courses and occasionally have to miss a game.
“We’ve played with nine players, we’ve played with 10, we’ve played with 11,” said Levesque. “I just want to keep the program going.”
Levesque explained that three girls decided not to play this season because they had jobs.
The Hawks, who are 0-11, got some help in Tuesday’s 11-0 loss to Southern Aroostook of Dyer Brook.
“The girl who was keeping my scorebook had been thinking about playing and said she wanted to help out,” said Levesque.
So Amanda Clark, a freshman, made the transformation from bookkeeper to goalkeeper against Southern Aroostook.
She shared the duty with Jamie Theriault.
Levesque’s daughter had been the goalkeeper for three years, but the coach felt she was of more use to the team in the field so she moved her into the midfield.
The team is composed of six freshmen, one sophomore, two juniors and three seniors.
Two of the freshmen, Rachel Harmon and Jessie Tracy, are also ice hockey players and will try out for the Houlton-Hodgdon team this winter.
Veteran Britta Oliver has had an impressive season as a striker, according to Levesque.
The coach said to try to keep her players fresh, she will move her midfielders to the back line.
The midfield position usually requires the most running on the soccer pitch.
Despite the winless record, Levesque is upbeat about her team.
“The girls always play hard right until the final buzzer,” said Levesque.
Levesque added that the numbers are good at the middle school so, hopefully, she won’t find herself in this situation again.