Lewiston High School field hockey coach Chelsea Fournier watches a drill during a recent practice at Bates College.

Lewiston High School field hockey coach Chelsea Fournier watches a drill during a recent practice at Bates College.

LEWISTON — When Chelsea Fournier contacted Lewiston High School Athletic Director Jason Fuller in June about the school’s open field hockey head coaching position, she was a week too late. Fuller had already found a replacement for Randy Richardson, who had coached the Blue Devils the previous four seasons.

Less than a week before the start of tryouts in August, Fuller was scrambling to find a head coach again as the coach he hired decided to step down. This time, it was Fuller placing a phone call to Fournier — a former Richardson assistant — to see if she was still interested in the position.

“Friday before preseason, I got a call at the (12th) hour and he asked if I was still interested,” Fournier said. “I, of course, said yes, and he did at least want me to try it out. He said, ‘Come in, see if it works with your actual schedule.’ In my head, I already said yes a thousand times.”

Fournier has the background. She played at St. Dominic Academy, from which she graduated in 2007. She then played at New England College, graduating in 2011. She got into coaching after college, first serving as an assistant at St. Dom’s, and then two years ago she was the JV and assistant varsity coach at Lewiston.

Lewiston will be her first head coaching job, though she did say she had to fill in for one game for St. Dom’s coach Brian Kay one time.

It has been quite the few weeks for Fournier and her players, with little time they to get know each other and to prepare. The team, coming off a 1-13 season, started tryouts with Fuller acting as the head coach before he could officially hire Fournier. Obviously, Fournier’s schedule changed to fit coaching in.

“You are absolutely right, I had no time (to prepare), but you know, I made the time,” Fournier said. “This is a priority of mine, and really important. One big thing is I had to work it around my normal work schedule. That was something I would have set into effect before. I probably would have practices and tryouts set down to the minute. Now, I have a list of things I want to get through, and it’s how far we can get to.”

She knew the seniors from coaching them two seasons ago, but hasn’t gotten to know everybody as much as she would have liked. She did say two weeks of double sessions have helped to get to know her players on a deeper level.

The players are trying to make the transition as smooth as possible for her.

“I think it’s not easy on her part to step right in,” Megan Gosselin said. “I think she has handled it very well because her personality has helped. She definitely knows the game just as much as anyone else. I think that really helps with our skills.”

For the girls, showing up on that first day and seeing Fuller wasn’t what they were hoping for.

“I also think not in a bad way because we are all love Fuller, but it was just a little bit disappointing to start the season with no coach when we already had one,” Mia Letourneau said. “We had gotten to know her but when Coach (Fournier) came back, we all had known her previously. It was a lot easier to adjust to it because we knew her.”

Fuller, who knows field hockey as two of his daughters played for Oak Hill, has followed the field hockey program a little bit closer this year because he coached them some during summer field hockey and the first few days of tryouts. Players said when he sees them away from the field he asks how’s everybody doing or how everyone is progressing.

Fournier said Fuller has let her start from scratch and didn’t give any preconceived notions towards any of the players during his time as acting head coach.

“He said, ‘Hey, it’s your program you get to do what you want,’” Fournier said. “He did say when I first came in there’s a lot of interest, and he’s absolutely right. We had 43, 44 people sign up that were interested in the game. It’s quite an honor to come into such a huge program. I am loving it. He did say it’s your program, you run it how you want, if you have any questions ask me. “

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Lewiston High School field hockey coach Chelsea Fournier does pushups with her team during a recent practice at Bates College.

Lewiston High School field hockey coach Chelsea Fournier does pushups with her team during a recent practice at Bates College.

Lewiston High School field hockey players battle for the ball at Bates College during a recent practice.

Lewiston High School field hockey players battle for the ball at Bates College during a recent practice.

Lewiston High School field hockey players race to the ball as another, foreground, waits for her turn at Bates College during a recent practice.

Lewiston High School field hockey players race to the ball as another, foreground, waits for her turn at Bates College during a recent practice.

Lewiston High School field hockey coach Chelsea Fournier signals to her team during a recent practice at Bates College.

Lewiston High School field hockey coach Chelsea Fournier signals to her team during a recent practice at Bates College.

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