YORK — Fifty-four consecutive wins. Three consecutive Class B state championships.

York High’s field hockey team carries those impressive streaks into the 2017 season, but don’t ask the Wildcats about them.

“We don’t speak about it,” said Emlyn Patry, a junior midfielder for the Wildcats – and the first junior captain in Barb Marois’ 18 years as head coach at York.

No, they don’t. Marois, who played in two Olympics as a member of Team USA, doesn’t believe in looking back.

“Once we start a season, we’re focused on that,” she said. “We’re focused on the present and going forward.”

But the Wildcats can’t escape their past. Their 54-game winning streak is tied for the third-longest by a Maine field hockey team, topped only by Dexter (63 games from 2000-03) and Skowhegan (78 from 2010-14). They are quietly aware of what the streak represents.

“There’s pressure,” said senior forward Sydney Bouchard. “It’s not just us who’s holding the (streak), it’s all the kids before us and all the people who have come up through the season. We want to keep it there to make them proud. We want to keep it there because we want to work to be the best we can be … It helps us work harder in practice.”

This will be an interesting season for the Wildcats, whose last defeat (and only loss over the past four years) was a 1-0 decision to Nokomis in the 2013 Class B state championship game. They’ll be without the state’s best player from the last three years, Lily Posternak, now starting as a freshman at Duke University. Posternak, the Varsity Maine Female Athlete of the Year in 2016 and 2017, was one of eight players to graduate from last season’s championship team.

The loss of those players gives other coaches hope.

“I think that changes everybody’s perspective a little bit,” said Becki Belmore, the coach at improving Greely.

Coach Barb Marois is establishing a new formation this year to take advantage of her players’ skills. She’s using offensive and defensive diamonds, designed to get her best players in the middle of the field. Staff photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette

Posternak could take over a game at any time, and the Wildcats won’t have that dominant player this year. Belmore, however, knows better than to simply dismiss the Wildcats.

“It’s not to say they don’t have a number of players that are going to step into that role,” she said. “I’m sure they do. They’re going to be equally strong and powerful. They’ve got the history and confidence behind them to keep it going. It’s going to take something big (to beat them).”

The Rangers, with everyone back from a young team that made it to the preliminary round, could contend. Yarmouth should be strong again. Poland is going to be strong.

“I think it’s anybody’s game,” said Yarmouth Coach Amy Ashley, whose team lost 2-1 to York in the Class B South final last year. “There are more kids playing club (field hockey) now, there’s more parity among the teams. It could be anybody’s league.”

And Marois knows her players are going to have to find a way to make the plays that Posternak or Izzy Bretz or Ali Lawlor, made last year.

“Obviously they know (Posternak’s) not here,” Marois said of her players. “It’s their responsibility to take on that role, however they can. I expect not just one person can do that, that it’s going to take a collective effort. They know that. That’s the way teams should work anyway.”

Lily Posternak, the state’s best player last year, has graduated, so the Wildcats will need a balanced attack to keep on winning. Natalie Panteleos will be one of the players who can contribute.

Marois is establishing a new formation this year to take advantage of her players’ skills. Instead of the traditional three-lines formation (forwards, midfield, defense), she’s using offensive and defensive diamonds, designed to get her best players – forwards Bouchard and Natalie Panteleos, midfielder Emlyn Patry, defenders Kate Donovan and Cassie Reinertson – in the middle of the field. The defense is bolstered by the return of both goalies, Julia Carr and Juliana Kiklis, from last year.

“It’s a little different than what we’ve done in the past,” said Marois. “But it tries to place the players in the field where, when we have the ball, they’re already in good position to receive a pass.”

Her players have adapted to it without any problems.

“Everyone is thinking, the younger kids and even some of the older ones who are returning,” said Patry. “They’re starting to realize when to cut and move to an open space, when to pass. It’s coming along.”

It’s a new team with a lot of potential. And a lot to live up to.

“We’re hoping to play the best we can this year,” said Bouchard. “We have potential. And if we work hard and keep going, things will open up.”

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

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Twitter: MikeLowePPH