Boys’ lacrosse preview: Lewiston looking to take the next step

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Lewiston’s Roman Dennis tries to get control of the ball as Brunswick’s Jack Hladky puts the pressure on him during Tuesday afternoon’s lacrosse game in Lewiston.

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Local boys’ lacrosse teams continue to build their programs as more high school athletes are getting involved in the sport.

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“Instead of lacrosse being a sport the kids play to fill time in the spring, you’re seeing more and more players are making it their main sport and finding opportunities to play year round,” Lewiston coach Ben Fournier said.

Lewiston is one of several teams that hopes to build on last season and make a strong push for the playoffs. Winthrop/Maranacook, Mt. Blue, and Hebron Academy all look make the playoffs again this year. Oak Hill, Oxford Hills, and St. Dom’s will continue to work hard with hopes of post season play.

Last year Lewiston went 9-3, advancing to the playoffs before losing to Windham, 9-8, in the first round.

“As a team last year we had the physical skills, this year, we will be focusing on the mental aspect of the game and be looking to have a high lacrosse IQ as a team instead of one or two individual players,” Fournier said.

The Blue Devils are strong with senior leadership. Roman Dennis, Sam Story and Pat Racine will control the midfield while classmates Tom Jumper, Gordie Ide, and Desmond Jackson work the defense. Bryan Wagg returns as the netminder.

They have some great younger players they are anxious to develop including newcomer midfielders Sam Payne and Jahiem Whiting, both freshman. 

Just making it to the playoffs won’t satisfy Lewiston, they have higher expectations.

“Brunswick and Messalonskee will be very tough games within the KVAC. They have historically been the teams we struggle against during the regular season and playoffs,” Fournier said. “This year, we are looking to be the team to beat in the KVAC.”

Winthrop/Maranacook made a run to the final four in Class B before losing to Yarmouth. Finishing with a 7-5 record, the Hawks are hoping to build on those seven wins.

“Fundamentals and consistency should take this team far,” fifth-year coach Zach Stewart said.

Returning players Drew Davis, Logan Stanley, Dennis Chiapetta, and Jack Vickerson will provide them with strong senior leadership. 

“We very simply want to play every game this year to the best of our ability.  To get beat by the opposing team, not ourselves,” added Stewart. 

Mt. Blue earned a playoff victory in 2016 before losing to Camden Hills. This year, they hope to get further, despite losing key positions and having a young team.

“We are going to be a young team this year, but the lacrosse skill and IQ is the best since I’ve been the coach. We have to replace a two-time All Conference Goalie and an entire defensive wall, so we will be relying heavily on the offensive midfielders and attack lines to be efficient and effective. Defensively, they will need to get used to the varsity game speed and their communication with each other,” third year coach Kevin Averill said.

The Cougars will be learning on the fly, hoping to get scoring from their middies, to take some pressure off their attackmen.

“We will have an adjustment period getting used to the speed of the varsity game. From talking with multiple coaches in our league, we all are going to be playing green guys, so I’m excited about what the league has in store for everyone,” he added.

The Mt. Blue program continues to grow, with numbers almost tripling the last three years.

“Our youth program continues to grow, we are up to 28 kids. It’s in it’s third year. We currently have a middle school team, but next year we’re looking to add teams at at the grade school level. This group of freshmen, are the first class that I will see the benefits of the feeder program,” Averill said.

The Hebron Academy Lumberjacks are poised to defend their MAISAD title from last spring and are working toward a New England Small School Championship. To get there, they are looking for leadership on the defensive side of the ball.

Senior goalie Mike Sullivan returns in net while classmates Zak Barnes and Matt James pace the defense. Junior Shamus Sullivan will help lead the midfield.

The Lumberacks have a strong core of juniors and seniors returning from last year. The midfield is a strength as the they have a great deal of depth and athleticism at the position. A number of returners and new faces have showed a high level of skill and dedication early on in preseason.

Edward Little will be coached led by veteran, Jim Dock, in his first year as the Red Eddies coach. Senior captain Ganan Mancini will provide leadership for this year’s squad while goalie Brandon Asselin returns in net. Senior Eli McBride and junior Tyler Morin, both attackers, also return for EL. Promising newcomer, middie Storm Jipson will help provide some youthful play.

Oxford Hills comes into the season with great hopes with several returning players and some key new additions. With numbers growing, they will look to their upperclassmen for leadership to continue to strive for success. After finishing 2-10 last year, they are looking forward to continue to develop and become a stronger team while maintaining and building a stronger program.

Juniors Justin David, Marcus Holden, and Sam Bourget look to provide leadership while sophomores Alex Wood and Zavier Balzano hope to provide a young lift for the Vikings.

Oak Hill and St. Dom’s are both looking to build upon last year.

Oak Hill had one significant loss and returning a good mixture of athletes to help lead them. Senior middie Steven Gilbert and senior attacker Marcus Bailey will provide upperclassmen leadership. Newcomers, Tanner Wright, Liam Rodrigue, Max Hall, and Nate Marcotte, all freshman, will provide some youth for the Raiders.

St. Dom’s is also a young team, looking to make some improvements from last season. Sophomores Brandon Glover, Xavier Michaud, and Hunter Emery are all returning upperclassmen with a year of varsity under their belts. Freshmen middie Will Fletcher, Alex Roy, and Robbie Dick will add some offense on an already young team.

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