Morse’s Lily Clifford, left, congratulates Dylan Barr after Barr’s second quarter goal against Gardiner during a Sept. 1 field hockey game in Gardiner. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

 

After a momentum-grabbing 2-1 victory over Gardiner in the season opener, the Morse field hockey team suffered a setback in a 3-1 loss to Brunswick on Tuesday.

“Right now, we need to work on our conditioning,” said Morse head coach Kerri Reno. “We get tired and make mistakes that we wouldn’t have if we had more gas in our tanks.”

Reno says that her team has the ability to make on-the-fly adjustments during breaks, which bodes well for it.

“We aren’t really going to change much but we are always tweaking where people play and what fits best for the team,” added Reno. “We know the game is fast so we are building up stamina to be able to hang the whole game.”

 

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It’s not often that a playing surface can make a difference in high school sports, but field hockey is an exception. With the season just over a week old and with most teams having played at least two games, coaches have begun to make adjustments depending on field surfaces.

“Grass versus turf is a big adjustment for us,” said Brunswick head coach Carrie Sullivan, whose team is 2-0 after victories over Lincoln Academy and Morse. “We’re one of the last few teams that play on grass in the conference, so we’re constantly adjusting to new playing fields, which affects the pacing of everything.”

Sullivan noted that she emphasizes her team “does their homework” during warmups to get accustomed to the different surfaces.

Morse’s Kennedy St. Pierre, left, tries to stop Gardiner’s Dewey Clary during a Sept. 1 field hockey game in Gardiner. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Sullivan credits her team’s depth as a reason for the strong start.

“While we don’t have one breakout star, that actually works for us, as opponents can’t focus on one player,” she said. “We have consistency at all our positions, including our substitutes.”

The Dragons shut out Lincoln Academy 7-0 before earning a close 3-1 victory over Class B Morse. Brunswick plays only Class A teams for the remainder of its schedule.

 

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Mt. Ararat will also have to make the adjustment to a turf field when rival Brunswick visits on Thursday at 6 p.m. It will be Mt. Ararat’s first game on the new turf field at the high school.

Head coach Krista Chase was already thinking about the difference during the ‘Drive out Cancer’ playday on Aug. 28 before her team had even practiced on its home field.

Mt. Ararat’s Lilly Koslosky, left, defemds Lisbon’s McKenzie Theriault during a Drive Out Cancer preseason game on Aug. 28 in Topsham. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

“I don’t think the girls realize how big of a change it will be,” Chase said during the event. “We’ll have some practices and a game before the home opener on turf, so hopefully we can get used to it.”

Mt. Ararat won its lone game on turf thus far — a hard-fought 2-1 victory at Lewiston last Thursday. The Eagles fell to powerhouse Skowhegan 6-0 on the natural grass field at Skowhegan.

 

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After graduating 12 seniors from last years’ team, young Freeport is looking to find its identity while learning the game.

“We have a lot of new players who are still learning the game,” said Marcia Wood, whose team is 0-2. “We are getting better with each game and have learned more about ourselves which is important.”

The Falcons dropped their opening game to York before falling to Yarmouth on Monday. They will look for their first victory Thursday at Lake Region.

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