University of Massachusetts field hockey coach Carla Tagliente says she isn’t sure how far her senior captain Hannah Prince of Gorham can go in the game.
“But she won’t ever be let down by her own effort,” said Tagliente, a three-time All-American at Maryland and former USFHA Player of the Year. “Nothing really deters her and there are very few players that really have that sort of drive.”
A defender for No. 7 nationally ranked Massachusetts, Prince is coming off a summer stint as a member of the United States U21 team that competed in the Junior World Cup in Germany, which finished seventh among 16 teams.
It was her first international experience since making the U16 team as a Gorham High junior.
Prince had gone to Junior National camps and tryouts each year since, only to repeatedly find herself just on the wrong side of the cut line.
“This was the last possible year for my age cutoff. If I’d been born five weeks sooner I would have been too old,” Prince said. “I stayed for the summer to keep working out and working on my skills.”
Prince said she never once thought about giving up on her goal of making another national team — and knew even the setbacks were positive learning experiences.
“The level of play and the level of coaching that you receive from these tournaments (were) giving me the best chance to keep getting better as a player,” Prince said. “Just continuing to get better; that’s been kind of my driving force as well.”
Tagliente noted setbacks have never produced excuses from Prince.
“She’s not pointing fingers, she just puts her head down and goes back to work,” Tagliente said.
Prince averaged about 30 minutes a game as a defensive reserve for the U.S. team that spent a week practicing and playing in the Netherlands before going 3-2 overall at the Junior World Cup.
“I was thrilled to be on the field and playing with the best players in my age group from the United States and against the best in my age group in the world,” Prince said.
Prince, the 2009 Miss Maine Field Hockey, has started every game in her career at UMass, a streak standing at 68. Her first two years it was all defense, all the time. Last year she was the person who started the offensive penalty corners and registered two goals (on just five shots) and five assists.
This year she has developed her “drag flick” shot.
Tagliente said the move is “highly technical” and requires “high understanding of body coordination.”
“I have five steps to the shot,” Prince said.
She began to try to describe it and then laughed and said, “You can Google it. It’s hard to explain.”
In very basic terms, Prince initiates the shooting motion by moving forward and getting very low to the ground with her left hip pointed at the target. Then she thrusts her hands back, collects the ball at the farthest point of her reach. Keeping her torso parallel and low to the ground, she initiates the shot.
When done correctly, the ball actually rolls along the shaft of the stick toward the toe during the shooting motion, generating increased speed before it is “flicked” toward goal.
“If you do it properly and get the mechanics down, it’s quite an effective shot,” Tagliente said.
Because it is a flick shot — as opposed to a full-swing drive — it is legal to elevate the shot above the goal’s backboard.
“Internationally it’s huge and it’s getting bigger on the college level,” Prince said.
Prince is planning on continued international competition, as well as a career coaching.
But finishing strong at UMass comes first.
Massachusetts opened the season ranked No. 14 and its 5-0 start includes big wins against No. 9 Michigan, No. 19 Boston College and Maine.
The games against Michigan and Maine were played in Orono. Prince scored against Michigan.
“My high school’s team came with my coach Becky Manson to the game. They wore their maroon jerseys, which are the UMass colors, and were cheering. It was really exciting. It was the first time playing in Maine since I’ve been in college,” Prince said.
• Two of Prince’s friends from her high school days are also in their senior seasons.
Brittany Ross of Scarborough is a forward at Providence College. Ross has played in each of the Friars’ first four games this year as a reserve.
Prince’s former Gorham High teammate Kayleigh Ballantyne is a forward at Bryant University, coming off a team-high 24-point season (7 goals, 10 assists) as a junior. Bryant has seven Mainers on its roster, including Molly Morrison of York (St. Thomas Aquinas).
Endicott College junior Emily Sawchuck of Cumberland (Cheverus) scored two goals, including her school-record 12th career game-winner and added an assist in a 5-4 win over Salem State to earn the Commonwealth Coast Conference Player of the Week.
Sunday Telegram 2012 Player of the Year Kristy Bernatchez of Belgrade (Messalonskee) scored her first collegiate goal Saturday for the University of North Carolina as the top-ranked Tar Heels routed No. 9 Michigan 7-2 in Iowa City, Iowa.
The three local athletes on the 2012 All-Telegram team are also playing collegiately in their freshman seasons. Karli-An Gilbert of Scarborough has started three of Gordon College’s four games at midfield. Mikaela Gove of Scarborough has seen action in two of St. Joseph’s College’s first three games as a defender. Staci Swallow of South Portland (Cheverus) has played in all four games for Babson College, making one start.
Former Noble player Elizabeth Terry of Lebanon and Hannah Huntress of Saco (Thornton Academy) are Husson freshmen.
Colby College sophomore Megan Fortier of Falmouth assisted on a goal in the Mules’ 3-0 season-opening win against Williams on Saturday.
Bentley University sophomore Kelsey Howard of Scarborough notched an assist in the Falcons’ 4-0 win against Oberlin. Bentley was ranked eighth in the preseason Division II poll.
Freshman Elly Walker of Scarborough notched her first career goal Saturday for Eastern Connecticut State in a 1-0 win against Lasell.
Bryant University sophomore goalie Chris Knaub of Yarmouth has played every minute of the Division I Bulldogs’ first four games, with a 1.50 goals-against average and 1-3 record in his second season as starter. He recorded his second career shutout in a season-opening 3-0 win at Lehigh.
Williams College senior Peter Morrell of Brunswick stopped seven shots Saturday in a 1-0 win at Colby College.
Colby senior Nate Tolman of Scarborough is a co-captain and key member of the Mules’ midfield. The team is off to a 1-1 start. Junior forward Charlie Dupree of Portland (Deering) scored his first goal of the year in a 4-1 win against Husson. First-year defender Luke Andrews of Falmouth is also on the team.
Eastern Connecticut freshman Greg Walton of Brunswick recorded his first career shutout Saturday against Bridgewater State.
Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or at: