HS Lacrosse notes: Youth giving EL good foundation

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Edward Little’s girls’ lacrosse team continues to battle forward, and it appears the program is finally starting to gain a foothold in the Auburn sports scene.

Leading the charge on the front end lately has been a handful of younger players, including junior Sadie Voisine. One of only two players from the class of 2011 on the squad, Voisine has scored eight goals in the team’s last three games, including hat tricks against Camden Hills and MacAuley. Both of those games ended in victory for the Eddies, the team’s lone two wins of the season.

“She was new to the game last year,” EL coach Greg Perkins said, “She’s progressed very well the last couple of years.”

Kate Sawyer and Shelbea Russell, both freshmen, have also been hot of late, and they represent the team’s future.

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“We only have two juniors and just four or five seniors,” Perkins said. “This is still a very young team.”

Young, he said, but full of promise, given that more and more of the players are getting to the team having already played the sport.

“I do have some kids this year who have played a bit, and that helps,” Perkins said.

The burgeoning talent hasn’t turned into a bevy of wins yet for EL, but the Eddies are getting there. Wins over MacAuley and Camden Hills were steps forward, and the team’s 2-6 record might easily by 5-3 but for a pair of tight losses to Oxford Hills by a combined five goals, and a one-goal setback to rival Lewiston.

“We’re going to have a stronger nucleus (going forward) than we’ve ever had before,” Perkins said. “And we only have the two juniors on top of the seniors, so, yeah, I’m pretty pleased with how we look down the road.”

EL gets its chance to avenge that one-goal loss to Lewiston on Thursday.

Improving offense

With almost every player on the field in 2009 gone from the 2010 edition of the Mt. Blue boys’ lacrosse team, players and coach James Black knew the road would be bumpy to begin the season.

“We had a lot of new players out there this year,” Black said. “We had a senior-filled team last year.”

After a victory over a young Oxford Hills team to start the season, Mt. Blue scored just 21 goals over its next six games — 11 of them in the lone win in that stretch.

Even in losses since then, though, the Cougars are starting to find an offensive groove.

“We’re working on a little bit of a better defensive scheme and we’re trying to conserve a bit more energy,” Black said. “The team, we’ve had a lot of injuries and sickness this year, and it’s taken time for some of the players to adjust to new roles.

“But the offense is starting to click,” Black continued. “The guys out there didn’t get much playing time last year, but it’s coming together.”

Black pointed to the team’s 9-6 loss to Lewiston Tuesday as a positive example. The Cougars led at the half, 5-3, before running out of gas.

“I feel like we’re growing and getting better every game.”

So much so, Black said, that he sees the team’s three remaining games as winnable, despite previous results against the same teams.

“Lewiston is as good a team as we’ve played all year, and we competed with them,” Black said. “We were struggling early on, still figuring things out, but I think the next three games, they’re all winnable if we come to play. Whether we win them or not, I expect to be right there with them.”

Coming back to help

With colleges mostly finished for the year, and with the high schools starting to wind down, more and more former high school athletes are returning to their old stomping grounds, and many of them are stepping in to help their old programs in practices.

At Oxford Hills, five former players have hit the field with the Vikings in recent days — Lauren and Jamie Brett, Brooke and Autumn Mason and Kelsey McLaren have all returned to pitch in.

“It gives the players on the team something to strive for,” coach Sarah Proulx said. “One of the girls asked, ‘Why do they come back,’ and the answer is because they love the sport, and they care about their former team.”

Proulx used the extra help for some high-speed scrimmage time with the varsity girls.

“Their fitness levels, especially the ones still playing, are amazing,” Proulx said, “and it shows the girls on the team now where they can go.”

Sign of life

It’s been a rough spring for the Oak Hill boys. Several top players from last year’s squad are gone, and the team has been searching for a full-time goaltender since season’s beginning. But coach Adam Dube has reason to be optimistic.

“In the second quarter against Lincon (on Tuesday), the team looked like it flipped a switch,” Dube said. “They started making their passes, they were more physical, and they scored four goals over the last three quarters, something that’s been hard for us to do this season.”

Twelve of Dube’s 23 players are freshmen, and at this point in the season, he’s shifted the focus from finding a way into the playoffs to having some fun.

“It’s that time,” Dube said. “I don’t know that we can make a run at it, so the biggest thing is to make it fun for everyone, and hopefully come back next year with a fire to play the game, and to grow.”

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