September 12, 2013

College Connections: Setbacks won't keep Gorham grad from goal

By Steve Craig
Staff Writer

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.

click image to enlarge

Kind of a drag ... that’s how Hannah Prince shoots the ball, and rather than try to explain it in depth, the UMass standout says, “You can Google it.”

Photos by Thom Kendall/UMass Athletics

click image to enlarge

Hannah Prince

"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.

(Continued on page 2)

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