Brittany Chadbourne knows a little bit about field hockey. She was one of the state’s best players while at Gardiner High and then played at the University of Connecticut.

Now she’s attempting to resuscitate the program at Morse High. The Shipbuilders haven’t had a winning season since 1993 and are coming off a 3-9-2 season.

This year they’re 0-3 and have been outscored 10-0. But Chadbourne said things are going as well as she hoped.

“A couple of wins would be great,” she said. “But we’re having fun, we’re improving each game and we’re working hard. You can’t ask for much more.”

Her former high school coach, Mo McNally, said there is one more need: patience.

The two met right after Chadbourne accepted the job, and McNally told her to be patient. Not just for the wins, but for the program.

“I was exactly where she is 32 years ago,” said McNally. “It’s not going to come in one year or two years or three years. It comes down to patience and work. It’s going to take a lot of work in the offseason and a lot of planning, and she’s got to be patient.

“I’ve seen her work with kids before (at Gardiner clinics), I’ve seen her break down skill drills. I know she has the propensity to be a great coach. She’s just got to give herself time.”

Chadbourne seems to understand that.

“We have improved greatly every game,” she said. “Baby steps. We’ll get there.”

Chadbourne lauded the play of junior forward Shannon Rice in the early season.

Chadbourne was an assistant at Colby College last year and worked with the U.S. Field Hockey Futures program.

“I wanted to have my own program,” she said. “This one opened up.”

The numbers are low, with only 20 on the roster, including several who had never played field hockey, so the Shipbuilders have no junior varsity or freshman teams. Chadbourne hopes that they will be able to play some JV games over the course of the season.

“The biggest thing right now is for the girls to have fun,” she said.

“We’re just working on basic skills and making sure they can do the little things. The rest will fall into place.”

 

OTHER FIRST-YEAR coaches in the area include Biddeford’s Leslie Mourmouras, Deering’s Marcia Wood, Noble’s Kaeleigh Barker, Gray-New Gloucester’s Jen Laberge and Traip Academy’s Hillary Humiston.

Wood was an assistant last year at Scarborough, the Class A state champion, and also coached the Red Storm to a Class A state lacrosse championship. She was unsure she wanted to leave Scarborough’s field hockey program.

“But I was ready for my own varsity program,” she said. “I didn’t want to play against those girls (at Scarborough), but the job opened up and I took it.

“(Deering has) turf. I couldn’t pass on a turf field, and I know there are some hidden athletes at this school. They lost a lot of people last year, and this is the perfect time for me to come in with a fresh team.”

As far as coaching at two different schools? “I’ll figure it out,” she said.

Several new coaches are trying to rebuild struggling programs.

“I see a lot of potential here,” said Noble’s Barker, who was the freshman coach last year. “It’s about coming together. I plan on working at the grass roots level.

“If I can reach the lower levels and build within the three towns (that comprise the school district) there’s no reason we can’t be competitive. We can build from the bottom up.”

Traip’s Humiston, a 2005 graduate of the school and an assistant coach last year, said former coach Kate Sheldon laid a strong foundation. “We’re hoping to keep that going,” she said.

“The girls have to come in with the right attitude, which they have. They’re all there to work hard and to win some respect from the community and the school. I think we’re on the right track.”

 

LINCOLN ACADEMY is not fielding a varsity team this fall. Coming off an 0-14 season in 2009, low numbers prompted a move to the junior varsity level.

“We’re keeping the program alive,” said K.J. Anastasio, the athletic director. “We had only 10 girls sign up. We’ve got to build it the next two years to get back to varsity levels.

“We’ve been struggling with numbers the last three of four years. And this year, on top of graduation, we had some girls who didn’t come out. We waited until the last minute to make the decision because we wanted it to work.”

 

ALLEN HOLMES, the long-time coach at Belfast, is one win away from 400 in his career. The Lions are 1-2 and play Hampden Academy (1-3) at 4 p.m. today at home.

 

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at: [email protected]