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Senior captain Hannah Martin made a smooth move from the midfield to defense for the Westbrook girls’ soccer squad this fall. (Photo courtesy of Hannah Martin )
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When the Westbrook girls’ soccer team was looking to shore up its defense this season, Head Coach Rob McConville wasn’t the least bit hesitant turning to senior captain Hannah Martin. McConville moved Hannah from outside midfielder to center back and eventually made her the sweeper for the Knights. Hannah accepted her new role willingly, and now she relishes patrolling the defensive end of the pitch.
“At first, it was a big change for me,” says Hannah. “It was a shock, because I’d never played defense before. Then I realized it would be not only beneficial to the team, but to me. I’ve learned how to become a defender and to bond with the rest of my defense.”
Hannah is leading a defensive unit that features three sophomores on a Westbrook squad with eight sophomores in its starting lineup. Coach McConville says that Hannah is doing an excellent job of mentoring the up-and-coming athletes who play on the Knights’ back line.
“Hannah is the general back there. She directs those three players in front of her,” McConville says. “She slid into a position that she never played before and is handling it very well.”
Westbrook owns a record of 3-10 heading into the final week of its regular season, having notched wins against Amistad (8-0), Hale-Ray (3-1), and Harding (9-2). While the Knights would like to have more victories, Hannah sees a big difference on the team from a season ago.
“We’ve cut those goals-against just about in half,” says Hannah. “In games last year, we were getting beat 8-0. Now, we’ve dropped many of those to 4-0.”
Hannah had to work on a few elements of her game in order to find her footing as a defender. Hannah knows there is a lot of responsibility that comes with playing the sweeper position.
“I’m always trying to clean it up back there. I’m really the last line of defense between the other team and our goal,” Hannah says. “I’ve got to stay calm and make the play if an offensive player gets past any one of the three players directly in front of me.”
Hannah started playing soccer when she was in 8th grade. She competed for the team at Westbrook Middle School and eventually joined a spring league.
Hannah has also tried softball and tennis in the spring and is considering going out for the track team as a senior. However, there is no question that soccer is Hannah’s main game.
“I knew from when I began playing it, I would stay with it, at least through high school,” says Hannah.
Away from the playing field, Hannah works as a sales person at Yankee Candle in Clinton. During the summer, she’s a lifeguard at the Westbrook Town Beach.
“I’ve been a swimmer since I was very young,” Hannah says. “Our high school doesn’t have a swimming team, but some of the kids have competed elsewhere.”
Hannah is leaning toward a future in education and would like to become an elementary school teacher. She’s concentrating on courses in history and English with an eye on attending college at the University of Rhode Island.
Coach McConville feels confident that Hannah has a bright future ahead of her after she graduates from Westbrook.
“She has never stopped working in her four years playing soccer,” says McConville. “I know whatever she pursues, she will do well in it.”
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