Leavitt’s Maddie Morin, second from left, and Addie Twitchell (9) celebrate after Morin scored late in the third quarter against Cape Elizabeth in the Class B South regional championship at Freeport High School on Wednesday. Dustin Williamson photo

Leavitt freshman Maddie Morin started out as a swing player, became a starter and eventually the team’s leading scorer in one season — and she was voted by the team’s captains to answer inquiries from the press — at least for a day.

The No. 5 Hornets (15-3), who ravaged teams in the Class B South field hockey playoffs, including wins over No. 1 York in the semifinals and then No. 2 Cape Elizabeth in the regional final, face Old Town (14-3) in the Class B state championship at noon Saturday at Cony High School in Augusta. The last time Leavitt won a state title was in 2012.

The Hornets’ five captains — Eve Martineau, Page DeMascio, Megan Nason, Keriah Marston and Daisy Twitchell — were reluctant to become the subject of a Sun Journal feature story and handed off the assignment to Morin — an articulate freshman who plays the sport year-round for a club team called Coastal Field Hockey, which holds practices in Portland.

“The first thing (the captains) said is, ‘I don’t want to do it,’” Leavitt coach Wanda Ward-MacLean said. “I think if (talking to the press) wasn’t just before the state game, it would be different. They are a little superstitious so they were like, ‘It can’t be me; it can’t be me.’

“I asked Maddie before I agreed for her to do it. I said, ‘You don’t have to do this. If don’t want to, we will choose somebody else. She was like, ‘What do I have to do?’ I said, ‘He is going to call you and ask you some questions so you just answer the questions.’”

But Morin, who scored one of Leavitt’s two goals in the B South final win over Cape Elizabeth, had enough nerve to go through with the task for the sake of the team.

“The captains are so great,” Morin, who leads the team with 14 goals, said. “They have kept our team positive and thinking ahead. They called me over. The coaches were smiling and I am like, “I think I am good. (The captains) were like, ‘We want you to do this.’ I have never been a person to like (be) on the spot and stuff like that.”

Morin marvels at her season and the Hornets’ prosperity.

“Of course, I didn’t really expect any of this,” she said. “I knew I was joining a team … I have a lot faith in our season, and at the beginning I didn’t think I was going to play all that much just because I am a freshman and, like, that doesn’t usually happen.

“I think in preseason our whole team started working on how we can all work together and just play as a team.”

“We had a COVID issue and that gave her chance to be in a starting role — and she just haven’t given it up since,” Ward-MacLean said of Morin. 

The longtime Leavitt coach said Morin has a strong presence around an opponent’s net.

“She keeps her stick low,” Ward-MacLean said. “She has got some good speed and stick work — especially for a freshman. She will play anywhere … and the kids like her because sometimes as a freshman coming in, you get little bit of ‘you are only a freshman’ type of thing, but that hasn’t been that way with her.

“She works extremely hard. We add her … and a couple of other kids like Addie Twitchell, Emma Beady … and we add them in with our core of seniors and juniors, and they have given us this spark that we haven’t had in the past.”

Morin started to see more action because she started “proving how I can play and how I can improve our team, I guess.” Morin said that she looks at being a member of the Hornets as a privilege and she enjoys the camaraderie as well as support and kindness from all the players.

“They have all really stepped up,” Ward-MacLean said, “and giving those seniors a chance to take breaks and do other things and try other positions, too. It has been a really special season after last year. Last year with the COVID and we played eight games. Even though you want to win all those games, the kids knew there wasn’t anything beyond those games.”

As far as playing in a state championship, Morin has often heard the seniors speaking about reaching that goal.

“I am sure you’ve heard from the seniors (that) that this is their dream since the seventh grade,” Morin said. “I guess I didn’t really expect (going to the state championship) because I never thought about it that much. I think we were getting more surprised and excited about ourselves.”

Morin said a good mindset and pushing herself in practice and in games are her two biggest assets, but she also believes in humility and resists the temptation of becoming arrogant.

“As a player on the field, I am trying to help fight for the seniors because I know that they want this,” she said. “The one thing I want to mention is how amazing and supportive the team has been. When you are coming off the bench and you’ve been working your hardest, the teammates come up (and say), ‘You are doing good … but keep pushing.” 

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