SACO — As Carley Lovejoy headed to school on Oct. 16, her phone started lighting up.

“We’re green,” the text messages read. “We can play sports again.”

For four weeks, athletes in York County had watched as high school teams in other counties across the state played games, their county under a “yellow” designation in the Maine Department of Education’s color-coded system that determines the risk of COVID-19 spread in a community. And for sports, “yellow” meant “red.” Full stop. No sports.

Oct. 16 changed that, as York County turned “green.”

And on Friday afternoon, two longtime rivals finally got to play a field hockey game. And it was against each other.

Biddeford, which has won the last two Class A South championships, defeated Thornton Academy 4-0 at chilly Hill Stadium as senior Abby Allen scored two goals and assisted two others.

“Amazing,” said Allen. “And it was so much fun. I think both teams had fun, no matter the score, no matter who won. It was just an amazing time.”

Lovejoy and Allen never gave up hope that they would get a chance to play, but admitted that it was frustrating to have to wait.

“I obviously wanted one last season with this amazing team,” said Lovejoy, a senior midfielder who transferred to Biddeford last year from Kennebunk. “So I’m just really, really thankful we get six games. Even one game would be absolutely amazing to be with them.”

Allen said getting on the field was especially important for the seniors: it gives them exposure to college coaches.

“I know other seniors who are looking to get into college with field hockey and this is what we needed,” said Allen, who is still uncommitted. “We needed college coaches to see us play. To have one last official season, it doesn’t matter what it is, with our team, it means a lot to us.”

The Tigers, who haven’t lost a regular-season game since 2017, scored a goal in each quarter: Allen had the first two (both on her  snapping reverse hit) while Lovejoy and Cece Keller scored in the second half.

“We play as champions no matter what,” said Allen. “We have a reputation to uphold and we don’t want to lower our expectations. We just thrive to keep growing every day.”

This season has no less meaning to the Trojans, who got 10 saves from senior goalie Madison Vachon.

“To be on a field today was pretty special because we didn’t know that this was ever going to happen,” said senior midfielder Aliyah Bureau. “Being able to go out and put out our all … it just meant a whole lot more than any other ordinary game.”

With 10 freshmen on the team, Thornton Academy Coach Lori Smith is glad they will have the chance, as small as it is, to learn from the three seniors on her team, including Kaleigh Miller.

“We’re getting to know each other,” she said. “Right now I can probably tell every player something they should work on in the off-season,. So that’s one of the benefits of us getting together, even short-term.”


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