Annie Villare was just 8 when she first started tagging along with her older sister, Kim, then a junior at Chelmsford High, to the summer field hockey clinics at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
As her sister blossomed into an All-American and helped the River Hawks capture the NCAA Division 2 national championship in 2005 , Annie quickly realized she wanted to do the same.
As Lowell embarks on its inaugural season as a Division 1 program, in the America East Conference, the freshman midfielder, the reigning Merrimack Valley Conference MVP, will take the field alongside former high school teammate Kayla MacDonald, a senior defender, and Chelsea Gillies, a fifth-year senior, who also played for the Lions. Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.
Anthony Gulizia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.