2012-11-02 / Sports Spotlight

Senior learned to love game at young age

By Michael Kelley Staff Writer


An undefeated regular season, complete with 14 shutouts, was a better senior season than Karli-An Gilbert could ever have imagined. Gilbert’s field hockey team captured the Western Class A championship with a win over Cheverus High School, but fell flat in the state championship game against Skowhegan High School Saturday, Oct. 27. (Michael Kelley photo) An undefeated regular season, complete with 14 shutouts, was a better senior season than Karli-An Gilbert could ever have imagined. Gilbert’s field hockey team captured the Western Class A championship with a win over Cheverus High School, but fell flat in the state championship game against Skowhegan High School Saturday, Oct. 27. (Michael Kelley photo) When Karli-An Gilbert is out on the field hockey field, she knows she is not alone. Her teammates are behind her no matter what happens. The game, she said, could not operate otherwise.

“It is definitely a team effort,” Gilbert said at practice the day before taking on Skowhegan High School in the Class A state title game. “You can’t do it by yourself. We scrimmage a lot against each other, so by the end of the season I know I can just look at one of my teammates and know what they are thinking and where they want me to be for the next pass.”

Gilbert, who is also a member of the indoor and outdoor track teams, began playing field hockey six years ago when she was in seventh grade.

“I fell in love with field hockey. I was playing soccer, too (through community services), but soon found field hockey was much more my niche,” Gilbert said.

Field hockey coach Kerry Mariello said, like Gilbert, many players on the team learn the game at an early age. The town’s community services department, Mariello said, offers a summer field hockey league for girls in kindergarten, first and second grades and a fall league for girls from kindergarten to 12th grade. A lot of the players on the varsity field hockey team serve as instructors for the youth players.

“That program has really blossomed over the years and we have quite a few players in the middle school program,” Mariello said.

Gilbert said she was drawn to the game’s intensity.

“I love the intensity level of it. You are always moving. It’s physical but also mental because you always have to be thinking about how to move your stick and your body to get by a defender to keep the ball moving along,” Gilbert said.

Mariello said Gilbert’s passion for the sport is clear.

“She’s put in a lot of time, a lot of minutes on this field and a lot of blood sweat and tears into her game,” Mariello said.

Gilbert, a co-captain, was one of 10 seniors on this year’s team.

“She definitely has the intellect to understand the game, verbally tell what to do, say the right thing to explain the game and she has the skill set to back it up,” Mariello said.

Gilbert said it was her goal to win a state championship during her senior year. The team, however, fell just short. On Oct. 27, Scarborough, which finished the regular season 14-0, lost to Skowhegan 3- 0 in the Class A state title game. Until the Skowhegan game, Scarborough has not allowed a goal since last fall.

Nevertheless, Gilbert said, her senior year was far from a disappointment.

“I entered this season wanting to have my best season. I wanted the team to have its best season. I didn’t have any expectations of being undefeated or unscored upon,” Gilbert said. “It’s more than I could have asked for and more than I could have expected.”

Despite losing Gilbert and the other nine seniors on the team, Mariello said she expects the team to continue to be competitive.

“Each year we seem to graduate core talent,” Mariello said. “It’s a matter of younger players filling those spots. We have quite a few young and talented players who have really stepped up.”

Although her high school career is done, Gilbert will continue to play. Over Thanksgiving break Gilbert will be traveling to Florida to play in a field hockey tournament with Katahdin Field Hockey, a travel team she plays on.

Field hockey may also be in Gilbert’s post high school plans. She has been communicating with field hockey coaches at Bates College and Gordon College and is also looking at Fairfield College and Gettysburg College.

“I will focus on academics, but I love field hockey. I can’t let it go. I definitely want to keep playing,” Gilbert said.

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