For the second time in six years, Old Orchard Beach High will be unable to field a field hockey team because of low participation numbers.

Athletic Director Dean Plante said although about 16 players signed up for field hockey in the spring, “the peak number we had in the summer was 10. Then we had a few dinged up who were unable to play. We had to make a decision.”

Eleven players are needed on the field for field hockey.

“It’s just a numbers game,” said Plante. “We offer girls’ soccer and cross country and golf. That makes it challenging to get a roster sometimes. The numbers looked good in the spring but just didn’t pan out.”

The school notified the Western Maine Conference and the Maine Principals’ Association last week that it didn’t have enough players and has to cancel its season. WMC officials were working Monday to come up with a new schedule, which already changed once with the loss of the Maine Girls’ Academy/Waynflete co-op team that ended when MGA closed.

“We’re still trying to fill in gaps,” said J.P. Yorkey, the athletic director at St. Dominic and one of the administrators working on a new schedule. “The one thing we have agreed upon as a league is that we’re going to do this together. It should be done soon.”

The MPA will allow the schools to schedule three games against the same opponent. Although WMC teams would prefer not to do that, Yorkey said it’s probably unavoidable given the loss of two teams in the last month.

“We’re going to try to maintain the 14-game schedule,” he said. “The kids want to play a full schedule. And then there’s the Heal points. We’re going to do the best we can.”

Old Orchard, which was 4-8-2 last year, also couldn’t field a team in 2013 because it lacked enough players.

“It’s definitely a concern,” said Plante. “We’ll see where we go from here.”

He said Coach Shauna Tolley is going to try to keep the program going for the girls who showed up regularly for practice, perhaps playing seven-on-seven games at the junior varsity level.

“If we can maintain consistency for the diehard seven that have committed since Day 1 ‚Ķhopefully we can keep the foundation set for next year,” said Plante.

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

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