The Foxcroft Academy field hockey team enjoyed a nice, four-year run in Class B North.
Coach Stephanie Smith’s Ponies were seeded in the top three in the Heal Points standings and reached the regional semifinals in three of those four seasons.
After a drop in enrollment, the Ponies find themselves in Class C this season.
Some would relish the opportunity to drop a class because they would be more dominant. Not Smith.
“I would much rather be in B,” Smith said. “It’s more competitive, and I like playing different schools. And now we’ll have the potential of playing teams three times in a season [including playoffs], which is not ideal.”
Foxcroft Academy went 14-2 a year ago, and the No. 2 seed beat Old Town 3-0 in the quarterfinals but lost to perennial power Winslow 2-1 in the semis.
“We thought we dominated quite a bit of that game with Winslow, and we would have liked to have another shot at them,” Smith said.
That won’t happen in the playoffs, although Winslow and Class B Nokomis of Newport are on the Ponies’ Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference regular-season schedule. They also play Penobscot Valley Conference B schools John Bapst of Bangor, Hermon and Old Town.
“We play pretty much the same schedule,” said FA Athletic Director Tim Smith, who explained that the school’s enrollment has dropped to approximately 390.
Stephanie Smith believes the Ponies would have been quite competitive in Class B and may have a chance to be dominating in Class C.
“We have some good all-around talent, and the girls worked hard over the summer,” coach Smith said. “They were motivated and worked hard on their skills.”
Several of her players play for the top-notch Maine Majestix club team during the offseason.
Smith does have to replace all-state midfielder Kenzie Beaudry and all-conference midfielder Cailin Seavey, but Foxcroft has seven starters back and several others who played a lot of minutes last season.
All-conference forward Cassidy Marsh headlines the list of returnees. She is a highly skilled playmaker whom Smith expects to score more goals this season.
“She’s a very unselfish player,” Stephanie Smith said.
There is no shortage of firepower up front to go with Marsh. Juniors Ava Rayfield and Maranda Poulin each scored approximately 16 goals a year ago. Senior Jenna Anderson is another scoring threat.
The midfield and back line have plenty of seasoned veterans in seniors Natalie Robinson and Karis Dankert, junior Sheryl Chase, and sophomores Meghan Spooner and Aleshia Raymond. Freshman Anna Raynes has a lot of promise.
In goal, the Ponies feature a three-year starter in Abbie Moore. Senior Deanna Weymouth provides depth up front, and fellow senior Megan Fuller is a midfielder who will get playing time.
Foxcroft Academy opened its season with a 1-0 victory at Old Town and was set to host Piscataquis Community High School of Guilford on Tuesday.