FRYEBURG — Although this is one of the younger Fryeburg Academy field hockey teams that Dede Frost has coached, she’s quick to point out that this a talented group that will only get better as the season progresses.
The Raiders are off to a strong start this fall going 4-1, including opening the 2022 season on an impressive three-match winning streak.
Fryeburg’s went 10-6 last season and reached the Western Maine quarterfinals. The No. 4 seeded Raiders lost a 3-2 thriller at home to No. 5 Leavitt (13-3). The Hornets scored two goals in the opening 10 minutes and then did all they could to withstand a frantic comeback bid by the Raiders.
FA lost seniors Juliette Albert, Jade Blood, Mallory Damon (team manager), Eden Voter, Maddie Foreman, Adriana Gil Garces, Camden Jones and Shelby Purslow to graduation last May.
Joining Frost on the sideline again this fall are fellow coaches Jennifer Bartlett, Jess Werner and Bryle Young.
There are 39 girls out for field hockey this season.
Frost is carrying 18 girls on the varsity team including seniors Lilianah Amazeen, Alegra Bartlett, Grace Murley, Abigail Paulding, Eliza Thorne and Samantha Winterbottom; juniors Grace Porcaro, Olivia Towne and Gabriella Udoto; sophomores Dakota Fox, Sierra Fox, Bo Greta Hermanson, Hazel Lewis, Haley Littlefield, Jocelyn Roy and Rayna Wales; and freshmen Aspen Hazlewood and Sharis Santos.
Members of the JV team include senior Sofia Cerritelli; juniors Elizabeth Littlefield and Emily Schrader Pejic; sophomores Tatiana Cavarlho, Bri’Anna Evans, Andrea Martinez Rodriguez, Samantha Maxim, Gwendolyn McDougall, Caitlin Nippins, Brooke O’Keefe, Kylie Prouty-Allen, Grace Rydman and Cara Sia Yoo; and freshmen Emma Alward, Isabel Brito, Sophia Brown, Ella Dean, Elise Dunn, Annabelle Harnden, Lily Nguyen and Clara Yager.
There are 10 freshmen out for the team this season along with a mix of sophomores to seniors with limited to little experience but there fortunately a group of experienced seniors. The good news is there will be enough players to field both a varsity and junior varsity team this season, something that did not happen last year due to low participation numbers.
“What we lack in experience right now we make up for and enthusiasm and desire,” Frost said. “It is going to take some time to figure out which systems work best for our team but each day we strive to be a bit better than the day before.”
This year’s team captains are Eliza Thorne and Grace Murley, who have been members of the vasty squad for the previous three years.
With many newcomers on this year’s team, there are plenty of positions to compete for on the varsity team. The enthusiasm with which the team approaches each practice and scrimmage has impressed the always-positive Coach Frost.
Frost considers the preseason as a time for the players to get to know each other, learn the game of field hockey and gain the strength and conditioning necessary to carry them through the long season. Of course in the back of everyone's mind is the possibility of playing home games on the newly constructed turf field and lights at Atwood Stadium.
One of the nice traditions surrounding the program is it hosts an annual alumni game, that continues to grow in popularity every year. The game was played during alumni reunion weekend on Aug. 20.
“We had over 35 former players return to the Fryeburg Academy field hockey field to participate in the game,” said Frost. “We had members travel from Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Vermont as well as Brooke Anderson flying all the way in from Virginia to play in the game. The alumni game is one of my favorite events of the year. I look forward to seeing all ages out on the field enjoying a game that we all love so much. It’s like a huge family reunion once a year where we can all get together and share our passion for field hockey. We always have a wonderful spectator crowd, too, coming back to watch all the alumni gather together again
She added: “This year, at one point in the game, a group of players from the 1990s were able to put to put together a team in which seven out of the 11 of them had played together in high school. It was amazing and they were fabulous. Watching players from all different years get back on the field, some for five minutes at a time and some for 30 is truly amazing. No matter how long it has been since they played the game, there is a transformation that takes place once they are within the confines of the field. It is as if they had never left — and the combination of competitiveness and giddy laughter makes for a perfect game!"
Fryeburg got its season off on the right note with a 3-1 victory over Poland in Fryeburg on Aug. 31. Thorne opened her scoring account in the ninth minute off a feed from Towne. Fellow captain, Murley, doubled the host’s lead with a second-quarter goal.
After the Knights pulled a goal back just before halftime, Towne added a fourth-quarter insurance goal off an assist from Thorne.
Wales made 10 saves in goal for the Raiders, who outshot the Knights 15-11.
“This season opener provided us with a great deal of information about what we do well and the areas that we need to begin to focus on to be a better team,” Frost said.
The Raiders followed up their opening day success with a 1-0 win at Gray-New Gloucester on Sept. 2, and a 3-0 road win over Greely on Sept. 6.
Fryeburg’s win streak was halted at home on Sept. 9 by York (4-0). The Wildcats won a 2-1 contest that featured plenty of end-to-end action.
York scored two goals in the opening half, but Thorne trimmed the deficit after a nice pass from Udoto.
Fryeburg returned to its winning ways on Sept. 13 by winning the local derby against rival Lake Region 2-0 at home.
Hermanson, a sophomore, opened the scoring three minutes in when she tucked home a pass from Thorne and the Raiders never looked back. Udoto made it 2-0 late in the first half with Roy collecting the assist.
Wales turned away all four shots she faced to pick up the shutout in net.
Fryeburg is scheduled to host Greely on Thursday at 4 p.m.