TURNER — You could try to play keep-away all you wanted, but eventually, Kara Violette was going to get the puck.
And then, look out.
The freshman skater for Leavitt Area High School was a study in perseverance and raw talent in 2009-10. Already a regional champion for a Massachusetts-based club team, Violette gave the Hornets hope to begin the season that a Maine state girls’ hockey title was within reach.
Coaches around the region immediately noted her as a player to watch, and by the time they faced Leavitt a second time, they’d tried to game-plan a defense around stopping her.
“You always have to be aware when she’s out there,” Lewiston coach Ron Dumont said before his team faced the Hornets this season. “We don’t necessarily mark up on anyone, but you always have to be aware.”
To begin the season, Violette knew there’d be added weight on her shoulders, even as a freshman.
“I knew coming in, I might have to lead even as a freshman,” Violette said. “I knew Leavitt had a tough time before, because we didn’t have many goal-scorers, so I knew I would need to score this year.”
With every game came more confidence. With every game came a new challenge. In some games, the shifty forward played on defense, just top open things up for her a bit.
“If I play defense, I have more ice to skate,” Violette said. “I can pick up more speed that way.”
Speed and stickhandling are the keys to her success, she said., and that all started at a very young age.
“I started to skate at four, at a learn-to-skate program in Auburn,” Violette said. “I moved up in that system from there.
“I remember we’d always have to do drills where we had to keep our heads up. When I carried the puck, I’d keep my head up then, and it helped me learn how to stickhandle better and my vision, to see the open ice.”
Her success directly helped Leavitt to a stellar 14-2-2 regular-season record. Included in those results were wins over Lewiston, St. Dom’s and Winslow, traditionally the strongest three teams in Eastern Maine.
“Even though off the ice, our team struggled a little bit, when we came together on the ice, it all was behind us,” Violette said. “It felt good to have such a good season.”
Her success at Leavitt may be short-lived.
“I’m probably not going to stay here another year,” Violette said honestly. “I’m looking at a few prep schools now, and hopefully get a good scholarship to play in college.”
But while she was at the school, she certainly made her mark.
For her accomplishments on the ice this season, Kara Violette is the 2010 Sun Journal Girls’ Ice Hockey Player of the Year.
2010 Sun Journal all-region girls’ hockey team
F – Emilie Cloutier, Lewiston
F – Ally Hebert, St. Dom’s
F – Sara Marden, Lewiston
F – Kayla McLellan, St. Dom’s
F – Taylor Teixeira, Lewiston
F – Kara Violette, Leavitt
F – Marisa Zamrock, Lewiston
D – Sophie Goulet, St. Dom’s
D – Kristin Lacasse, Lewiston
D – Lauren Lessard, Lewiston
D – Anne McIntire, St. Dom’s
D – Kylie Vincent, Leavitt
G – Nicole Keaney, St. Dom’s
G – Sarah Turner, Lewiston