Skowhegan (white jersey) moves the ball down the field in a game against Lawrence on Saturday at the Central Maine Play Day at Winslow High School. Dave Dyer/Kennebec Journal

WINSLOW — The field hockey season (un)officially arrived on Saturday.

And a little rain wasn’t going to stop area teams from hitting the fields. Or getting their boogie on.

Despite soaked conditions from an overnight storm, 21 teams hit the grass fields of Winslow High School on Saturday for the annual Central Maine Play Day. Teams took part in 25-minute games and situational practices — such as corners — with schools from throughout the state, including Foxcroft Academy of Dover-Foxcroft, and Massabesic High School of Waterboro.

“I love this day,” said Winslow head coach and event organizer Mary-Beth Bourgoin. “It’s just basically selling a sport that everybody loves, that we all love. I’m very grateful and thankful that we have the (available) facilities and the parks and (recreation) crew that help us do all of this, because we couldn’t do it without them.

“It’s just a really fun day,” Bourgoin continued. “I’m glad for the weather, even though it rained (on Friday). The fields are playable and we’re going for it.”

For central Maine coaches and players, the day provides an opportunity to size up area competition for the regular season, as well as get needed game reps in what proves to be a short preseason.


“Just to get through those first five days (of preseason) and actually get the chance to play, it’s amazing,” Lawrence head coach Shawna Robinson said. “It’s such a great feeling to get here.”

“I appreciate (the play day) a lot,” Winthrop junior Madeline Wagner said. “I love getting to these tournaments. It’s different than a practice, you’re playing teams that you may not face during the regular season. It’s a lot of different styles that you get to go against. It’s a great opportunity that we’re thankful to be at.”

Dirigo (white jersey) tries to move the ball up the field in a game against Maine Central Institute on Saturday at the Central Maine Play Day at Winslow High School. Dave Dyer/Kennebec Journal

The wet conditions provided teams an excellent opportunity to experience what grass fields may be like in a potentially damp fall season, one that sees teams play both on natural and artificial surfaces.

“It’s truthfully getting really tough to (transition) from turf to grass, turf to grass,” Skowhegan head coach Paula Doughty said. “It’s like having to play basketball on two different surfaces. It’s really tough. We played at the University of Maine (in Orono on Friday) on their new field, and you could just cruise. Grass is grass. Sooner or later, we’ll all have turf. But look at what (Winslow) has done here. There’s five fields (to play on), it’s really well done.”

Not to be lost on the day is that annual dance-off, which takes place during the middle of the play day, where teams come up with their own performance. Mt. Blue was among the creative standouts, going with a “Little Mermaid” theme involving players wearing tail fins.

“We love the dance-off,” Messalonskee head coach Katie Brann said. “It’s just great to see all the other teams (perform). It’s lots of fun.”

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