Lori Smith, field hockey coach at Thornton Academy, first noticed Kennebunk High’s Samantha McGrath in first grade. Even then, said Smith, you could tell she was going to be a special player.
“Sam established herself as an elite player from the start,” said Smith.
She never stopped refining her skills. McGrath ended her career at Kennebunk, recognized as the best player in the state. Not only has she won the Miss Maine Field Hockey Award, which is awarded annually to the state’s Outstanding Senior Player of the Year, but she’s also our choice as the Varsity Maine Field Hockey Player of the Year.
“Having been a coach for over 13 years, there are styles of players, attitudes, characteristics or even appearances, where you say, ‘Oh, Alice reminds me of Jane so much,’ said Kayla Billings, Kennebunk coach. “We’ll never see another Sam McGrath. It is a bright star that burns so hard that it is out of this universe. Her physical skills are exceptional and she has worked tirelessly to refine these skills. “
Thornton’s Smith spoke about McGrath’s ability to receive a pass on a penalty corner and shoot so quickly that no one, including the goalie, had time to react. “She can also defend on both sides of her body, a skill that most high school players don’t master,” Smith said. “Sam does so much on the pitch and does it well, she stands out in every game I’ve ever watched.”
McGrath helped the Rams reach the quarterfinals of Class A South, where they lost to eventual state champion Cheverus. Although she faced a double team every time she had the ball, she scored 17 goals and assisted out of six. For his career, McGrath has registered 24 goals, 17 assists and two defensive saves.
Field hockey has always been her favorite sport since she started playing it in third grade, said McGrath, who also played lacrosse and tennis at Kennebunk.
“I really like the culture that field hockey offers,” she said. “Almost everyone is nice and supports each other, whether we are teammates or opponents. I guess that’s just the nature of the game. And I love how everyone has an equal chance to play the ball. It’s not like lacrosse, where you can hang on to the ball. In field hockey, it’s anyone’s game anytime.
McGrath said she didn’t want to be remembered just as the most talented player, but as “someone who puts her teammates first, you know, the embodiment of Miss Maine Field Hockey: someone who stands out. focuses as much on sportsmanship as on being a team player. “
Billings said she achieved this goal easily.
“His gift to our program has not been reflected on our all-time stats chart,” Billings said. “What she leaves is a legacy of love and respect for the game. She has been the ultimate role model since stepping on this court.
McGrath plays travel field hockey with Coastal Field Hockey, under the direction of Sally Cloutier. She recently signed a letter of intent to play at St. Michael’s College, an NCAA Division II program in Vermont, where she plans to study environmental studies.
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