Field Hockey

Thornton Academy was one of the first schools in the state of Maine to offer the
sport of field hockey for interested female players. The roots of the program lie in the
years immediately following World War II. In 1948, forty-eight girls came out for the team
and played in a parking area located on one end of the Thornton Academy athletic complex
on the east side of Main Street (at the site of the current Saco Rite Aid). Since then, the
program has grown, and the school has offered field hockey teams every year since 1952,
when Caroline Strong’s team finished the season at 5-1-1.

Thornton Academy field hockey has a rich tradition and history. Thornton has had
two undefeated regular season squads (1964, 1988) and has been highly competitive in the
Southwestern Maine Activities Association (SMAA). The 1988 team also captured the
SMAA championship and won sixteen games, an all-time program record; that team was
inducted into the Thornton Academy Athletic Hall of Fame in 2013. More recently, the
2015 Golden Trojan field hockey team finished the season at 15-3 and was the Class A
South regional champions. The 2015 Thornton Academy field hockey team is the only
squad in the program’s history to compete in a state championship game.

The field hockey program is also committed to community service and annually
engages in a number of fundraising and service projects. Members of the Saco Recreation
Department youth programs play exhibition games at high school events throughout the
fall season. In addition, the varsity and junior varsity teams sponsor “pink games” in which
funds are raised to support individuals and families afflicted with cancer.

Some of the finest student-athletes in Thornton Academy history have competed for
Thornton Academy field hockey. Lisa DeFrancesco was a three-time Maine Sunday
Telegram All-State selection and went on to have an excellent career at Northeastern
University in Boston. Grace Pickering was an all-conference and all-state selection and
earned the prestigious Miss Maine Field Hockey Award following the 2015 season. Her
teammate Libby Pomerleau was also an all-state player who is the leading scorer in the
history of the program. A number of Thornton Academy field hockey players, including
DeFrancesco, Leslie Couture, Sandra Brochu, and Samantha McAuliffe, have been inducted
into the Thornton Academy Athletic Hall of Fame as individual athletes.

The field hockey program has been led by several highly successful coaches over the
years. Nancy Mailman coached six Thornton Academy field hockey teams into the
postseason and made four appearance in Western Maine Class A semifinal games. Diann
Wood coached the 1988 league championship team and guided her squad to the regional
championship game. Lori Smith collected 175 victories in her twenty-six seasons and is the
school’s winningest all-time coach. Former Golden Trojan standout Lexie Carter, who later
played at Bates College, begins her first season with the program in the fall of 2023.
Participation in field hockey at Thornton Academy is limited to females only. The
majority of practices and all varsity games take place at Hill Stadium. The junior varsity

team plays contests at both Hill Stadium and an adjacent grass field. There are tryouts for
selection to the varsity and junior varsity squads. The preseason typically consists of one
week of double sessions (morning, late afternoon) in which players are evaluated on their
conditioning, technical abilities, and tactical knowledge. The process for earning a slot on
the varsity squad is typically quite competitive. However, students with less experience or
who may be looking to improve their skills have an opportunity to participate on the junior
varsity squad.

Season: Fall

2023 Opening Date: August 16

Teams: Varsity, Junior Varsity

Varsity Coach: Lexie Carter

Junior Varsity Coach: Madelyn Cote

Field Hockey Teams

Athletic Resources for parents & players