JASON GENDRON PHOTOGRAPHY: Massabesic’s Emma Desrochers handles the ball during the 2016 season. Desrochers was named the Journal Tribune MVP.

JASON GENDRON PHOTOGRAPHY: Massabesic’s Emma Desrochers handles the ball during the 2016 season. Desrochers was named the Journal Tribune MVP.

After early playoff exits in the previous two years, the Massabesic field hockey team felt that 2016 would be the year the Mustangs would push forward and compete for a state title.

Massabesic had it all: An explosive offense, tough defense, and the right blend of veteran players and new ones.

On top of all the talent on paper, another advantage that only Massabesic enjoyed was the leadership of senior captain Emma Desrochers.

Desrochers was one of the top two-way players in the state in 2016, and showed her versatility by playing multiple positions as well, leading Massabesic to a Class A South title and appearance in the state championship.

Perhaps her greatest influence came with her mental toughness and competitiveness.

“Emma always played with a calm demeanor. She never got too high or low and in doing so, she kept her teammates focused on the play,” said Massabesic coach Michele Martin-Moore. “(She is) a fierce competitor who didn’t know the meaning of the word quit. She inspired each and every player to give 100 percent no matter the score or how much time was left in the game.”

Martin-Moore also recalled Desrochers’ leadership off the field, especially during times of adversity.

“It was after the Cheverus game — our first loss of the season. We had given our all, played a great game and yet we lost. That night, she went home and researched Chinese symbols and their meanings. She found one for each player, wrote it on a pink heart and put a note explaining the symbol and why she chose it for that particular player … then hung them in the locker room for the girls to find the next day. Never in all my years of coaching had I encountered a captain with such a knack for giving everyone what they needed in just the right way,” said Martin-Moore.

Although Desrochers may have flown under the radar throughout her first three seasons, this year she has been widely recognized, including being named to the Southwestern Maine Activities Association’s All-Conference First Team.

Desrochers also achieved a great deal in the classroom, which also inspired those around her.

“Emma was a great role model as a student–athlete, taking several AP courses and seemingly never falling behind in any of them. Her humility in the face of greatness and her respectful, responsible attitude made her a true leader by example,” said Martin-Moore.

Not only has Desrochers impacted her teammates, but she has also inspired Martin-Moore as a coach.

“Not enough words could describe what it has been like to coach a selfless, hard-working, determined and skilled player. She has taught me what it means to be truly selfless and knowing how to put ‘we’ before ‘me’,” said Martin-Moore.

The Mustangs look forward to 2017, and although Desrochers will not be on the field, her presence will be felt for years to come in the Massabesic field hockey program.

“I am not sure it will be impossible to fill that void with just one player next year,” said Martin-Moore. “If each player decides to put the team goals before their individual goals and think of their teammates before themselves, we would be paying tribute to Emma and her legacy will live on.”

— Associate Sports Editor Alex Sponseller can be reached at [email protected] or at 282-1535 ext. 323. Follow the Journal Tribune Sports Department on Twitter @JournalTsports.

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