LEWISTON — It was clear from the get-go that Lewiston had the size, speed and experience to overwhelm rebuilding rival Edward Little in Thursday’s Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference lacrosse game at Bates College’s Morgan McDuffee Field.

The Blue Devils’ next objective was to maintain control throughout the contest, and that’s where sophomore Shaima Naji came in.

Naji’s draw controls helped the Devils dominate possession, which more often than not led to them lighting up the scoreboard in a 21-2 win, their first of the season.

Laurianne Murphy led 10 different Blue Devils (1-1) on the score sheet with five goals, while Jess Cote and Sierra Thistlewaite added three apiece. Fran Haines had both goals for the Red Eddies (0-2)

Goals by Cote and Brie Wilson in the first 35 seconds set the tone for the Devils. They led 7-0 midway through the first half and 12-0 before Haines got EL on the board with 1:43 left.

“We played the full 50 minutes today. I thought we came out ready to play,” Lewiston coach Skip Capone said. “We were really, really in sync offensively.”

Naji kept the momentum in Lewiston’s favor by winning draw after draw.

“I go for it as hard as I can every time,” Naji said. “I usually use as much of my legs as I can to get the ball out and get an advantage because I’m tall. I just try to get it close to my teammates.”

Lewiston led 13-1 at the half en route to outshooting the Eddies, 36-9. Goalkeeper Sam Cote made seven saves for the Devils.

Capone praised the play of defenders Naji, Norah Schlax, Morgan Eliasen and Erika Thibeault.

“Those four back there, they’re tall, they’re athletic, they’re aggressive,” he said.

“We start and finish with the back end of our team. We’ve got to be really good on defense,” Capone said. “Other than that little hiccup in the first half we played really, really well. There was improvement on ground balls. All aspects of the game were a lot better today.”

The Devils were coming off a 9-5 loss to Brunswick in their season-opener. They trailed by only one goal with 9:19 left in that contest before the Dragons pulled away with four scores in a row.

“We kept our momentum the whole time today,” Naji said. “Our goal is to be as good as last season (when they went 10-2) or better, so we kept our head in the game, even though we were up by a lot. We just kept doing what we had to do, trying to get better.”

“We have to be aggressive,” she added. “We know that if we’re being as aggressive as we can, then the other team will be tempted to step up their level and then we’ll get better and better and better as the game goes on, hopefully.”


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