Olivia King of the Taft School is shown during a game earlier this season. The senior from Old Town will join the University of Maine women's program next season. Credit: Robert Falcetti | Taft School

Growing up in Old Town and attending the University of Maine’s ice hockey summer clinics, Olivia King said going to the University of Maine was always in the back of her mind.

That dream will become a reality this fall when the defenseman, who has spent the last three years at the Taft School in Watertown, Connecticut, joins the Black Bears hockey program.

At UMaine, King will be reunited with former Taft teammates Morgan Trimper and Ally Trimper of Bangor.

She will be a non-scholarship player.

“I’m really excited,” the 19-year-old King said. “I have been around the program for a while and I wanted to go there. Now that I’m getting the opportunity, it’s really crazy for me.”

King played a regular shift for the Old Town-Orono High School boys team as a sophomore during the 2016-17 season. The Black Bears went 16-3-2 and lost to eventual state champ Waterville 6-5 in overtime in the Class B North championship game.

“She has been a great player and a really positive influence on our team for the past three years,” Taft School coach Gretchen Ulion-Silverman said.

“She has gotten stronger and faster and makes quicker decisions,” said Ulion-Silverman, who is United States Hockey Hall of Famer and won a gold medal in the 1998 Winter Olympics.

UMaine head coach Richard Reichenbach said he is excited and thrilled to have King joining his team.

“Like the Trimpers, we have worked with Olivia at our camps and seen her grow the last nine seasons. Rarely do you get to coach a player at the college level you know so well,” Reichenbach said.

“Any time you can find a Maine player who has played elite female hockey, you know they have the built-in pride of being from Maine and [wanting] to play for the Black Bears,” he added.

Reichenbach said King has stepped up her off-ice training the last two years and made huge strides in the weight room. That led to significant improvement in her game.

“Playing elite female hockey the last few years has helped her game and the transition to play at the Division I level,” he added.

King, who was a captain at Taft, said she is looking forward to being reunited with the Trimper twins. The freshmen are wingers for the UMaine team that swept No. 9 Boston University in its quarterfinal series and is playing No. 4 Northeastern in Saturday’s noon semifinal in North Andover, Massachusetts.

“I’m excited,” said King, who also plays field hockey and softball at Taft, where she has had a great experience on many levels.

“It opened my eyes,” King said. “I met so many different people. I had the chance to grow as a person and become more independent.”

King, who scored four goals this season, said she intends to work hard on all aspects of her game to be ready to compete for a spot on the Black Bear blue line next season.

UMaine returns six of its seven defensemen.