AUBURN – St. Dominic Regional High School started class two weeks before Labor Day. Counting abbreviated round-robin games, the Saints played 10 times in the field hockey preseason.

Few teams in the state were better prepared for the first day of the fall sports season. Then, when that day finally arrived, the Saints had a bye. So they waited. And waited. And waited some more.

No surprise that it took the defending Western Class C champions a while to get going in Wednesday’s 5-0 squelching of Sacopee Valley to christen the Western Maine Conference campaign.

“We had a little layoff for the past week. We’re used to playing every other day,” said St. Dom’s coach Brian Kay. “Until we get in that mode, it’s going to be tough. And we don’t play again until next Tuesday. The layoffs don’t help.”

It’s still a better situation than Sacopee Valley, which made the trip from South Hiram to meet one of its usual tormentors after a preseason in which the Hawks played one, lonely exhibition game.

St. Dom’s scored at 3:17 of the first half on a penalty stroke by junior co-captain Mary Lewis. The Hawks held their ground with the exception of a one-timer by Eliza Dox and trailed only 2-0 with 11 minutes left.

Colleen Rideout registered back-to-back goals to shoo away Sacopee.

“It seems like we always start out with them,” said Sacopee Valley coach Katie Bernier. “We play them twice every year, then three times usually, because we run into them in the playoffs. It’s tradition.”

Another tradition is the Saints boasting one of the premier players in the state. Lewis fits that description, but six different players registered a goal or an assist in the season-opener.

“We need focus and drive in the circle,” said Katie Landry, a senior co-captain who assisted Rideout’s first goal. “We need people to be hungry and go for it.”

Quality matched quantity with St. Dom’s preseason schedule. The Saints went 8-1-1 against a steady diet of Class A and B teams and Class C powers, including York, Sanford, Yarmouth, Falmouth, Lewiston, Lake Region, Telstar and Edward Little.

Sacopee and NYA are the Saints’ steepest competition in the WMC.

“We can only improve,” Lewis said. “Having only lost four seniors, we’re expected to be so high, but you don’t know about the other teams that might have only lost one.”

Hillary Gove backed up her two earlier assists and nailed the Saints’ final goal with 3:54 remaining.

Austyn Carolin made five saves for St. Dom’s, which held Sacopee without a shot on goal in the first half thanks to smothering defense by Pressley Lawrence, Hannah Wiley, Annie Butts and Julia Richardson.


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