Dobecki sisters know the score
Maddy Dobecki grew up watching her sister Lindsay play field hockey and played with her for a year when they were both students at Scarborough High School. Last month Maddy saw Lindsay not as a sister, not as a teammate, but as a competitor.
On Wednesday, Sept. 23, Maddy, a freshman at Saint Michael’s College in Colchester, Vermont, faced off against Lindsay, a senior at Merrimack College, in North Andover, Massachusetts.
“Since I decided to play at St. Mike’s, I knew I would play her this season,” said Maddy, who scored her first collegiate goal in a 2-1 overtime win Sept. 29 against Franklin Pierce University, which came into the contest nationally ranked among Division II schools. “I knew it would be a challenge to play her, but it would also be nice to see a familiar face since I am so far away from my family and friends.”
Lindsay said it was strange to see her sister on the opposing side. She said this, coupled with the close nature of the game, made for an anxiety-filled contest.
“It was pretty back and forth for most of the game,” said Lindsay, who had an assist on the winning goal in Merrimack’s 3-1 victory over Saint Michael’s. Merrimack heads into an Oct. 7 matchup with Southern Connecticut State University with a 7-2 record. After a 3-2 loss against Bentley University over the weekend, Saint Michael’s sits at 4-5.
The Dobecki sisters treated the Saint Michael’s/Merrimack game just as any other.
“We didn’t talk until after the game,” Maddy said. “I ran into her in the training room. We said hi, but we agreed we would hug and talk after the game.”
Maddy is one of seven freshmen on Saint Michael’s roster.
“It’s an honor to be part of the program my freshman year,” she added. “I am really excited to see what the rest of the season has in store for us.”
Now nine games into the season, Maddy said she is beginning to get accustomed to the collegiate game.
“It’s gone really well,” she said of the transition. “We have a great team and a great coach. I was well prepared, but the college game is obviously faster and more intense.”
The sisters were able to bond and jointly prepare for the field hockey season over the summer.
“It was really nice having her around over the summer, especially when I go my workout packet,” Maddy said.
Lindsay said Maddy has come a long way with her field hockey skills. Maddy, a 2015 Scarborough High School graduate who started playing field hockey in seventh grade, led the Red Storm to three consecutive Class A titles, including a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Skowhegan High School last November. Maddy was named Miss Maine Field Hockey player of the year in 2014.
“She has always been an amazing player. It’s been great seeing her improve and grow as a player,” said Lindsay, who tried to make it to as many of Maddy’s high school games as possible. “Just watching her in the championship game to this year, you can see how much she has improved. It was great to get a chance to play against her.”
Due to the hectic schedule of six days of field hockey practices or games a week, Maddy said she has learned how crucial time management is, especially given Saint Michael’s College is at least a three-hour bus trip from the 14 other teams in the Northeast-10 conference, a Division II affiliate of the National College Athletic Association (NCAA).
Maddy, a biology major, said the teachers she had in Scarborough left her well prepared for college academics.
“It is a lot of work, but Scarborough did prepare me well to be ready to take on a hard major with a good deal of work involved. The biggest thing is time management between high school and college,” Maddy said.
As Maddy begins her college career, Lindsay is seeing hers wind down. Lindsay, a business major with a minor in human development, is still weighing what she wants to do when she graduates in May. She is contemplating looking for jobs in Boston or Rome, where she studied abroad last school year.
Saint Michael’s College is familiar terrain for the Dobeckis. Maddy and Lindsay’s father, Dennis, and mother, Kathleen (Gillis) Dobecki, both graduated from the school. Dennis was a member of the tennis team from 1984 to 1988.
“It’s been cool to be able to carry (our college athletics legacy) on. My parents met here, went to classes here as undergrads,” she said.
Lindsay and Maddy are not the only Scarborough High School graduates playing field hockey in the Northeast-10 conference. Kelsey Howard (2012) plays for Bentley, Rachael Wallace (2014) plays for Stonehill College and Abby Walker (2015) plays for Saint Anselm College.