Brunswick — It’s been since 2011 where the Brunswick High School field hockey team made the postseason. After years of steady improvement and the growth of the youth program, coupled with the hire of new coach Carrie Sullivan, the Dragons are poised to continue on that path.

Carrie Sullivan, the new high school field hockey coach in Brunswick, talks to her players at the end of Tuesday’s practice. (Eric Maxim / The Times Record)

Sullivan takes over for Karen Paquin this fall after Paquin’s five-year tenure. Sullivan has been involved in junior high field hockey for over 15 years, the last seven coming in Brunswick as the head coach.

“I love it, I am so excited to be coaching these girls,” Sullivan said. “It was perfect timing, I was going to give up coaching junior high anyway so I wouldn’t miss my girls games, and now I’ll be at all of their games and practices.”

The sixth-grade language arts teacher at Brunswick Junior High will be coaching a pair of daughters, sophomore Kelsey and freshman Elyse are both in the program. Her oldest daughter, Shea, graduated last year and is attending Bowdoin College this fall.

Sullivan, who played both basketball and field hockey at Middlebury College always knew she wanted to coach.

“I went into publishing after college, but I think I got into teaching because I wanted to coach,” Sullivan said. “When I got into teaching, I took a varsity head coaching job and coached high school basketball for five years at Weston High in Massachusetts. When we moved to Brunswick, I was an assistant with Stef Pemper with the Bowdoin College women’s basketball team for a year, then I had kids. Since then, my coaching has shifted to whatever my kids were playing. I’ve done a lot of coaching at the youth levels with field hockey, basketball and softball.”

Sullivan sees her familiarity with her players as a “huge plus” with both hers and her players comfort levels.

“They do feel comfortable with me, and vice versa,” the coach explains. “It’s a different flavor for sure, but they do know me and it’s a comfort level that I feel very good about. I have my daughters and her friends that I all know. It’s important we have team chemistry and are close.”

“Carrie Sullivan is a coach who has great rapport with the kids and is very knowledgeable in her field,” Brunswick High School Athletic Director Jeff Ramich said. “She coached these kids at the middle school so she is a known commodity among the girls and their parents. We are very excited to see this program grow as well.”

Sullivan has a few new twists planned this preseason. A couple being a team strength and conditioning event climbing Bradbury Mountain and a fitness workout planned at Maine Pines.

The Brunswick High School field hockey team listens to athletic trainer Don Crane at the end of Tuesday morning’s practice at the high school. (Eric Maxim / The Times Record)

“I’m also bringing in guest speakers that have a love for field hockey,” Sullivan said. “Mandy Lewis (the new principal at Brunswick Junior High) was a coach varsity coach at Yarmouth for nine years, she came into practice from her busy schedule and showed the girls some drills. I have a few more in my back pocket to surprise the girls. It’s a different voice, even though they already know my voice after only two days, it shows them that they’re other people in town that love field hockey.”

Since interviewing late last winter, and officially getting approval for the job at the end of the school year, Sullivan has been patiently (sort of) waiting for the season to start and has some solid goals in mind for her new squad.

“I have been thinking about the season every day this summer so I’m excited to get started,” Sullivan said. “My overall goals for this year were two-fold, first was literally to have enough girls in the program to have two teams. We’ve been kind of scraping together a jayvee schedule the last couple of years, playing some seven-on-seven games or even borrowing players, but this year we’ll have enough for two full teams.

With 13 freshmen coming up and strong numbers in the junior high, Sullivan likes the direction the program is heading.

“I think the youth program is helping out, showing that there is field hockey in this town, and I think we’re beginning to see the benefits of that,” she added.

“My second goal is to finally make the playoffs. It’s been the goal for a few years and each year they got closer,” Sullivan said. “We’re in a tough league (Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference) so we know we need to compete. You take a look at what Krista Chase has done with Mt. Ararat’s program from the youth programs on up and see that they’ve had some success, so we’re hoping to do the same.”

The Dragons will put it all to test when they open the season on Sept. 7 at Mt. Blue at 10 a.m.

Comments are not available on this story.