The starting five is back from last year’s region semifinalist. Since most of the other Class B South teams were depleted by graduation, Poland might seem in line to take a potentially large step forward in 2017-18.
However, new coach Tim Dolley, who has been Poland’s JV coach for the past seven years, is more focused on getting the Knights past Fryeburg, and then St. Dom’s, then Maranacook.
“It’s one of those things where we’re going to take one game at a time and not too much forward,” he said.
Highlighting the returners is point guard Nathalie Theriault, who averaged 10.6 points, an MVC-high 4.4 assists and 3.3 steals per game last year.
There’s also Sarah Moody, Morgan Brousseau, Jessica Seeley and a handful of others that were part of last season’s run to the B South semifinals.
Only one senior graduated, so Poland will again have a deep bench.
The Knights aren’t a tall team, but Dolley said speed will be the Knights’ strength as the counteract their lack of size.
That Knights gained some valuable experience by beating second-seed Wells to reach the semifinals and then hanging around Lincoln Academy despite being hampered by foul trouble.
“Getting that second (level of) experience of getting to that semifinal I think will help them if we can make the tournament, you know, with the jitters and know that we’ve already been there so it shouldn’t be like a shock,” Dolley said.
Fryeburg first, though.
Coach: Tim Dolley (first year)
Conference: Western Maine; Class: B South
Last year’s results: 11-7 (lost in region semifinals)
Returning athletes: Seniors — Natalie Theriault, Sarah Moody, Kate Dufour, Jessica Seeley, Morgan Brousseau, Lexy Grondin, Jordan Gregory, Erin Ridley; Sophomores — Sophie Vallee, Ally Gagne.
Key losses: Victoria Tibbetts.
Promising newcomers: Juniors — Shelby LaFrinea, Morgan Chouinard; Sophomore — Amanda Gagne; Freshman: Kaylin O’Leary.