Goal-oriented Bernatchez bound for UNC
Kristy Bernatchez felt the pressure this year.
Having already committed to play at the University of North Carolina and a member of the United States U19 team that played in Canada over the summer, Bernatchez knew all eyes would be on her during her senior field hockey season at Messalonskee.
All eyes, that is, except the pair belonging to her older sister Katie, who had headed off to play and learn at Boston University. That´s really what worried Bernatchez.
"I felt very comfortable when I had her behind me and I think this year I felt more pressure to be an offensive threat," Bernatchez said. "Last year I was more passive and this year I had been told by a lot of people I needed to shoot more. So I did."
Bernatchez took the advice to heart, scoring 47 goals, after tallying 13 as a junior. For her scoring prowess, her technical skills, athletic ability and her recognition beyond the state´s borders, Bernatchez is our choice as the Maine Sunday Telegram field hockey player of the year.
"To live up to the expectations of the community and the media, it´s a hard situation," Messalonskee Coach Katie Gorham said. "It´s like being a celebrity. She handled it with grace. She handled the pressure very well. This year her maturity really shined and she really took off."
The only thing Bernatchez was unable to accomplish is the one thing that has eluded all Class A players and teams in Maine over the past three seasons -- a victory over Skowhegan.
"They´re obviously our biggest rival," Bernatchez said. "I would have loved a chance to beat them in high school but it didn´t happen. It´s not the end of the world. I´m moving on."
Bernatchez was the only player to score on the Indians this season, once in the regular season and once in a 2-1 Eastern Maine final loss.
"She has a killer shot that you can´t save. They were both into a 6-inch hole on the right- hand side that few people can get," Skowhegan Coach Paula Doughty said.
Gorham said at the end of Messalonskee´s final practice she clocked Bernatchez´s drive from the top of the penalty corner at 70 miles per hour.
"When she hits it, it´s absolutely terrifying," Gorham said.
Last April Bernatchez helped the U.S. U17 team split a four-game series with Canada in Vancouver. This January she will be among 25 players attending a U19 training camp in Chula Vista, Calif., from which an international touring team will be picked.
Bernatchez´s ultimate goal is a spot on the senior national team and playing in the Olympics.
"It´s going to be hard but I´d love to some day if it´s possible," Bernatchez said.
Staff Writer Steve Craig can be contacted at 791-6413 or at:
TELEGRAM ALL-STATE TEAM
Kristy Bernatchez, Messalonskee, senior center midfielder: Miss Maine finalist and all-Telegram repeat selection scored 47 goals, including the only two Skowhegan allowed. A member of the U.S. U-19 team, she will next play at the University of North Carolina.
Sarah Finnemore, Skowhegan, senior center midfielder: Miss Maine finalist and repeat all-Telegram pick led Indians to third straight state title with two goals and an assist in state final, capping a 32-goal, 27-assist season. A member of national U19 indoor team, will next play at Harvard.
Karli-An Gilbert, Scarborough, senior center midfielder: The two-way glue to Scarborough´s 17-0 run to Western Class A title. Had 2 goals and 11 assists and was critical to 17 shutouts.
Mikaela Gove, Scarborough, senior back: The only returning defensive starter for the Red Storm, took control of a unit that did not allow a goal until the state final.
Allison Lancaster, Skowhegan, junior midfielder: Used blistering speed and stick skills to score 17 goals with 15 assists. Is being recruited by Division I programs.
Allison LeClair, Winslow, senior midfielder: The KVAC B Player of the Year led her team with 17 goals and 18 assists and was noted for her two-way play.
Adrianna Martineau, Skowhegan, senior back: A key reason why the Indians allowed only 20 shots in 18 games, she used her speed and skill to turn defensive stops into offensive rushes. She will next play at Maine.
Makaela Michonski, Skowhegan, senior forward: Especially adept at tipping in shots near the net, she set a state record with 48 goals and added 29 assists while setting a school career record with 110 goals. She will play at Husson next season.
Staci Swallow, Cheverus, senior center midfielder: The SMAA Player of the Year was a force all over the field, scoring 15 goals with 8 assists and acting as the fly on defensive corners.
Elise Tilton, John Bapst, senior midfielder/forward: The three-year all-state and Miss Maine finalist scored 26 goals with six assists, setting school records for career goals (60) and assists (55). Tilton will play next year at the University of Pennsylvania.
Julia Ward, Belfast, senior goalkeeper: Miss Maine finalist, two-time KVAC B Goalie of the Year and repeat all-Telegram pick had .887 save percentage and six shutouts as Belfast won Eastern B title.
Coach of the Year
Wanda Ward-MacLean, Leavitt
With one senior in the starting lineup, the veteran coach blended the Hornets into a fast, tenacious group that upset No. 2 Fryeburg, knocked off defending West champ York and beat defending state champ Belfast to win their first Class B title since 1996.