FARMINGTON — Kaitlyn and Meghan Bullen looked at each other and laughed.

Simultaneously, the sisters, two years apart at Mt. Blue High School, blurted out, “We can read each others minds.”

They giggled again.

The answer left no mystery to the question they’d been presented, which pertained to how the pair knew so well what the other was doing on the field hockey pitch.

“She’s always there, wherever I hit it,” Kaitlyn said.

Kaitlyn, a senior, and Meghan, a sophomore, will suit up and see significant time this season on the Cougars’ varsity front line. Coach Jeannine Paradis is hoping that obvious connection will result in significant gains for the team as a whole.

“The great thing is that Kaitlyn wants Meghan to be better,” Paradis
said. “Sometimes I do pair them against each other in drills, and they
do go at it, but I’d much rather have them on a line together. They do
know where the other is going to cut most of the time.”

Last season, Meghan practiced with the varsity squad, but saw most of her time with the junior varsity. That, Paradis said, was by design.

“I took her as a freshman, but I did swing her down to JV,” Paradis said. “I knew the caliber of player she’s going to be. I told her that I expected her to be the leading scorer on the team, and she was.”

During the off-season, the pair played on elite field hockey teams.

“We played Majestics field hockey, both of us,” Meghan said.

But
they couldn’t play on the same team, at least, not yet. Kaitlyn played
for the Under-19 squad, while Meghan joined up with the Under-16 group.

Then, over the summer, the two played in a league based out of Jay. There, Paradis told Meghan she’d likely see significant varsity time this fall, and she was going to try her out playing alongside her sister.

“I thought it was pretty sweet, because it’s probably the only time I’ll ever get to play with her,” Kaitlyn said.

Meanwhile, last season, Kaitlyn began in earnest her assault on the school’s career goal-scoring record. She sits three shy of the mark, which stands at 21. It’s a modest number, Paradis said, but typifies the Cougars’ team concept, especially on the front line.

The Bullen sisters, meanwhile, are working simultaneously to help Kaitlyn achieve her goal, which by all accounts she should reach sometime this season.

Meghan, however, has her own plans once big sister graduates.

“I want to improve, get better as I get older,” Meghan said.

“To be just like me, right?” Kaitlyn interjected.

They both laughed. Again.

But Meghan wasn’t kidding, and she even went a step further.

“Yeah, I’ll catch her (if she gets the record),” Meghan said. “Then I’ll beat her.”

All the better for the Mt. Blue program, Paradis said.

“By Meghan’s senior year, she’s going to be one hell of a player,” she said. “She’s going to be a scorer, even this year for us. It’s so exciting. And it’s great that they get to play together now, for a full year, and it’s only going to help us as a team going forward.”

Mt. Blue senior Kaitlyn Bullen, left, and her sister Meghan Bullen are expected to be two key members of the Cougars’ offense this season. 

2009 Field Hockey Conference Previews

KVAC A

The usual suspects are all back in the KVAC, with Skowhegan, Messalonskee and Cony expected to be at or near the top. Edward Little has done well in recent years to keep pace with the top teams, and this year should be no different. The Eddies return all but five starters from last year’s squad, including one of the region’s top goalies in Kayla Cummings and six front-end players. If they shore up the midfield with some incoming players, the Eddies should be one of the teams to watch — again.

Across the river, Lewiston, which went winless last season, should be improved enough to believe that .500 is within reach. The Devils are solid on the back end, and will need to find some scoring punch to compete in a loaded conference.

Oxford Hills doesn’t have a team with a lot of depth, but with a lot of top-end returners, Coach Goddard has moved some of the stronger players to key positions in the hopes that they can be leaders no matter where they play. The Vikings are always tough to play against, and the midfield and back end should once again be tough to play against.

Mt. Blue has a lot of speed up front, and will have to use it to compete in this tough conference. Always a threat to make the playoffs, if the Cougars play their cards right, they’ll return to the second season this year. This junior class, and its development, will be key for Mt. Blue.

KVAC B

Leavitt was such a senior-heavy team last year, the common thought across Class B will be that the Hornets are in rebuild mode. But because the team was so deep last season, many of the younger players got some playing time. Now, there are seven returning players who saw time with the varsity last season, and Leavitt should again be at or near the top of the conference. The season may start a bit slowly, but expect this team to be tough come playoff time.

Oak Hill, meanwhile, is on the other side of things, missing just three key players from last year’s team. The Raiders will still be young as they build from the back end out, and the key to their season will be allowing as few shots on goal as possible.

MVC

The toughest division in Maine field hockey will be the northern division of this conference. Perennial powers Jay, Livermore Falls and Telstar are all grouped here, along with Mountain Valley and newcomer St. Dom’s, making this one solid grouping.

Jay came out of the quagmire last year after a 10-win regular season, and made it through to the Western C final. The Tigers have several players returning from their run last year, and will have to be solid defensively in front of a new keeper.

Telstar, which carved out 13 wins a year ago and lost to Jay in the regional semifinal round, is missing one of the best players in the state after she graduated, but the Rebels have some healthy competition within the squad to replace the marquee scoring position on the field. The back end is solid.

St. Dom’s is always a solid group, and this year’s move to the MVC has shaken things up a bit. The Saints will need veteran contributions from each position on the field if they want to be successful in this competitive conference.

Winthrop, which has knocked on the door of a 10-win season in each of the last four campaigns, may be ready to break through this year. Low on numbers, the Ramblers join Lisbon as a team without a JV program this fall. But both should still be in the hunt at the top level.

Mountain Valley was a solid team last year in Class B, and won the MVC crown. The Falcons lost a lot of starters and have moved some of the veteran players around to compensate for that. This team will likely improve as the season progresses.

Livermore Falls is a sleeper here. Tradition-rich, the Andies return a host of front-line talent, and are the deepest they’ve been in years. Given the right circumstance and some hard work, they could be in the mix for a title.

WMC

Gray-New Gloucester is going to be a force to be reckoned with in the conference this year. Playing an all-Class C schedule isn’t going to hurt the Patriots’ record, either, though many of the schools they face are tough. Only four starters from last year’s squad are missing, and team chemistry will be key here.

Poland, meanwhile, is at the other end of the spectrum. Still a year or two away from being a major factor, the solid young base will have the Knights looking forward with smiles. This group has a solid work ethic and should be a good base for the young program.


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