Thursday, May 23, 2013
BY MATT DIFILIPPO
JOINING FORCES: Messalonskee’s Katie Bernatchez, left, tries to get past Cony’s Chelsea Begin during a game last season. Both will play in the McNally Senior All-Star Field Hockey Game on Saturday.
Staff photo by Joe Phelan
For now, this is Chelsea Begin's last competitive field hockey game.
Begin scored 42 goals and added 22 assists in four years with the Cony High School varsity and made the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference first team all-stars three years in a row.
But Begin won't be playing field hockey during her freshman year in college. So her last game, at least for a while, will be at noon, Saturday at Colby College at the McNally Senior All-Star Field Hockey Game.
"It's an exciting thing," Begin said. "It caps off your whole high school career and you get a chance to play with everyone again."
The rosters are made up of players who were all-state selections as seniors last fall. Other local players selected include Messalonskee's Katie Bernatchez and Jess Boghosian and Hall-Dale's Wendy Goldman.
Begin will attend the University of Southern Maine this fall and major in nursing. She is careful to say the decision to definitely not play field hockey applies only to her freshman year.
"I wanted to make sure I got a handle on my academics first," Begin said. "It's one of those things. You have to think about after college. As much as I'd like to make field hockey my profession, that's not the case."
As a high school freshman, Begin made the Cony varsity, but while she was talented and understood the game, she was also raw.
"I was definitely more timid as a freshman," Begin said. "I had all the skills in my head, but as I got older, it became more fluid. It just came to me."
Along the way, Begin became more confident and gained more skills through playing in the offseason. Her game now is that of a complete player. As a senior, she was a potent scorer and served as Cony's flier on defensive penalty corners. Cony coach Holly Daigle said Begin's strengths include her stickwork, her 1-on-1 game, her field sense and her ability to involve other players in the play.
"She definitely earned the reputation of being a scorer," Daigle said, "but her defensive game has also improved tremendously."
Begin readily admits she's extremely competitive in everything and, though Cony never got past the regional semifinals in her four years, she said she's still very happy with her high school career.
"I just enjoy the intensity and how it takes more than one player to be good," Begin said. "Some sports, it's easy to take over the game by yourself, but I like in field hockey how it takes a lot of people to move the ball up the field.
"It's definitely bittersweet. I'll probably miss it like crazy. Once I figure out college, maybe I'll try to play field hockey as a sophomore."
Matt DiFilippo -- 861-9243