WATERBORO — Sanford High and Massabesic High are two of the most prominent field hockey programs in York County, each perennial playoff teams who sometimes contend for a championship.

But this year, with the high school season delayed and shortened because of the coronavirus pandemic, their goals are much different.

For coaches Diana Walker of Sanford and Michele Martin-Moore of Massabesic, it’s all about preparing for next year.

Their teams played Wednesday afternoon, with Massabesic defeating Sanford 5-1, as Emma Snyder scored two goals and Micaela Jacobs contributed a goal and an assist. But the score was secondary. As Walker said, “I’m not keeping track of shots, I’m not keeping track of goals, I’m not keeping saves. Because I don’t think that’s important this year.”

What is important is looking ahead to 2021, when they hope they can play a full season.

“If you can learn one skill, learn one thing this year, and bring it back next year, do it,” said Walker.

Because neither team could even practice until Oct. 19 while York County was under a “yellow” designation in the state’s color-coded system used to determine the risk of COVID-19 spread, Wednesday’s game was Sanford’s first this fall and Massabesic’s second. The Spartans’ goal was scored by Kassidy Plante. Massabesic also got goals from Anna Snyder and Emily Jacobs.

“It was pretty exciting, I’m not going to lie,” said Sanford senior Ruby LaChance. “We worked so hard those two weeks for this chance.”

Both coaches substituted freely, with 21 players getting into the game for Massabesic, and 18 for Sanford. Walker said she understands her veteran players may get frustrated – “Part of their high school career is gone and they don’t get that back,” she said – but she has to look to the future.

“I just want them to have fun, I want them to come back next year,” said Walker. “I want everybody to get a chance to play. I’ve got a couple of kids who have never played before. I had freshmen out there playing just to see what they could do.”

The players seem to understand. When asked what motivates them without the goal of qualifying for the playoffs and battling for a championship, Massabesic’s Jacobs, a junior forward, said, “The sport in general. It’s just a lifestyle for all of us. The drive comes naturally, we don’t need to work toward anything. This year, without the playoffs, we’re working toward next year.”

Martin-Moore said she isn’t even running practices as  she normally would.

“I would be, in my opinion, a fool to not play my younger kids a little bit more,” she said. “We’re still playing to win, but I’m trying to mix in some of my inexperienced kids, some of my kids who will be up-and-coming next year, with my experienced kids, so they can be on the field, learning as they fly.

“My goal is to prep for next year, like Micaela said. But I want my seniors to enjoy their time and pass on their legacy. That’s part of what this team does, we hand the torch off to the next generation.”

And the seniors understand. “It’s disappointing not having an actual season,” said Snyder. “But I’m just happy I’m back with my team. That’s all I want, being back with the girls I love.”

 


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