November 6, 2012

College Connections: Gorham field hockey star excels in college career

By Steve Craig scraig@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Hannah Prince of Gorham, the Miss Maine Field Hockey in 2009, hasn't missed a start since arriving on the University of Massachusetts campus. The junior defender knows she'll get start No. 62 today and believes more will follow before this season is over.

click image to enlarge

Hannah Prince, a key member of the UMass field hockey team that won the Atlantic-10 tournament this weekend, was named Miss Maine Field Hockey in 2009 while at Gorham.

Courtesy University of Massachusetts

Massachusetts (14-8-1) won the Atlantic-10 tournament this past weekend and gained the right to host Northeast Conference champ Rider today at 1 p.m. in an NCAA play-in game.

The winner gets a spot in the 16-team national tournament.

"I'm confident in our ability and I don't think there's any team in the country we couldn't beat if we play our game and play hard," Prince said prior to Monday's practice. "It will be interesting to see how tomorrow goes and hopefully next weekend."

UMass is coming off a dominant performance in the A-10 championship, beating Temple, 5-2 and then routing league No. 1 Richmond, 5-0.

Prince picked up her fifth assist of the season against Richmond, to go along with two goals.

Prince said the win against Richmond was an indicator of how her team has improved over the final month of the season. UMass' one conference loss was a 1-0 setback at Richmond.

"They've been one of our rivals for as long as I can remember," Prince said. "It shows how hard we've been working. We've always talked about getting to a championship game against Richmond and I don't think they expected that from us, since we didn't even score down there. It was a good win to get a shutout and have five goals."

UMass has won nine straight and outscored its opponents 38-7 since its regular-season loss at Richmond. The streak started with an upset of then No. 1 Syracuse.

"We've had our sights set pretty high for awhile. I feel like we've been progressing since October," Prince said.

At Gorham High, Prince starred as a center midfielder, scoring nine goals with seven assists as a senior. But it was her play as a defender on club teams and in the U.S. Field Hockey Futures program (2006-09) that drew the attention of former UMass Coach Justine Sowry.

Prior to Prince's sophomore year, Carla Tagliente became the head coach. Tagliente said there was little doubt Prince was staying in the starting lineup.

"She eats, drinks, and bleeds hockey and wants to be a better player and wants every one of our players to be a better player," Tagliente said. "A lot of players care and work hard to get better but this is a different level. Some kids are very passionate about wanting to be great and she wants to be great."

This year Prince has been all over the back, playing both the right and left side in both three- and four-person alignments and even playing a bit of center defense.

"I'm the type of kid coaches love. I'll basically do whatever they want," Prince said.

As the backup "push-out" on offensive corners, she also initiates the penalty corner a couple times a game and that's led to her five assists this season. She also scored two goals in the opening weekend of the season -- both game-winners in overtime when UMass beat nationally-ranked New Hampshire and Ohio State on consecutive days.

Prince is already taking steps to extend her competitive field hockey opportunities after college. Last summer she played in the USA Field Hockey's High Performance Training program alongside UMass assistant coach and 2012 Olympian Shannon Taylor.

"I never get sick of going to practice. I love working out and (playing beyond college is) definitely something I think about," Prince said. "The High Performance Program, it's like the best college athletes. It was an awesome experience. It's kind of like the college version of Futures."

(Continued on page 2)

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