She doesn’t play like an eighth grader

In the flash of a pad, disaster turned to a dream.

The Marblehead girls hockey team lost its starting goaltender prior to the season. Eighth-grade goalie Liv Doucette – whose role on the team drastically changed – took advantage of the opportunity.

Believe it or not, there was a time when Marblehead coach Brittany Smith wasn’t sure if Doucette was going to be a part of the team at all.

“Liv decided to join the team later in the process,” Smith said. “Liv has been on the ice since the first practice, and I am grateful that she is on the team.”

Recalling that first practice, Smith saw Doucette’s talent right away.

“Liv was solid in net immediately,” Smith said. “Liv is fast and very good at going side-to-side. She is just a good, all-around goalie, which is rare considering her age.”

Doucette’s biggest adjustment? The speed and competition.

“I felt pretty good about how I would perform coming into this season, but the biggest difference was the level of play and competition at the varsity level,” Doucette said. “These games are played at such a faster pace, which did take some time getting used to. I feel I have gotten used to this pace and can handle it much better now.”

Since the early adjustments, Smith has seen tremendous growth in Doucette’s play. Playing between the pipes, Doucette has helped lead the Lady Headers to a Division I tournament appearance.

“Liv was a little nervous in goal at the beginning of the season,” Smith said. “But as she gained more experience throughout the season, she has now become an aggressive goalie which is her true style of play. It has been a pleasure to watch her development progress this year.”

And speaking of growth, a perfect example of Doucette’s development came in a game against Beverly earlier this season. The Lady Headers may have fallen 3-2 in overtime, but you-know-who recorded 39 big saves.

“Liv was amazing against Beverly, and really gave us a chance to win,” Smith said. “Beverly is a good team, and for Liv to have that kind of performance against them speaks volumes. This was only Liv’s sixth start of the season.”

Oh, and she’s never satisfied. Despite the praise, Doucette looks to improve several aspects of her game as she grows within the program.

“I really want to continue to get better at controlling rebounds and making more stops in net,” Doucette said. “I feel confident that I can, and will, continue to improve in these areas.”

With Smith and the Marblehead faithful in her corner, Doucette looks to become one of the faces of the franchise as her time in the red and black moves forward.