A single point separated the Saints from a berth in the playoffs in what was admittedly a building year for the program.

“It was so close. It’s definitely motivation,” St. Dom’s senior midfielder Matt Chasse said. 

With 17 players returning, and with a coach who is now familiar with his team — and vice versa — the Saints are putting a positive spin on the new season.

“We were off by that one point last year, and we had games we had chances at,” second-year coach Jamie King said. “Being young and not knowing where they wanted to be, it was a little tougher, but this year, we should be better.”

King took over last season, and from the beginning it was tough sledding, being in a new program with players who had different expectations and different lacrosse backgrounds. 

“That was the biggest thing, coming last year, was they didn’t know any of the systems I wanted to run with them,” King said. “There was definitely a difference, and it took a while to adjust to that.”

In addition to the adjustment period, Chasse said he doesn’t feel like, through it all, the team gave its best effort, either.

“Last year was obviously tough, I don’t think we brought our all last year,” Chasse said. “Hopefully this year, I think we have more depth, and that should be helpful going far and proving ourselves in the division.”

That mentality was apparent from Day 1.

“Stepping into practice the first day this year, they all knew exactly what the systems were,” King said. “That was nice. There was a lot more motivation, and the kids really wanted to get going.”

Of course, having some stability at the top was a big deal for the players, as well.

“Having coach come back is a great thing for us,” senior attack Kenton Ernst said.

“Exactly,” Chasse added, nodding his head in agreement. “This year, having a coach back, he knows the ropes, we all know what he wants us to do. It’s helpful.”

So with the year-long introduction period out of the way, King has been able to turn his attention to more of the game’s intricacies. Among them: team defense.

“Defensively, we have to look to hold off the opponents’ scoring,” King said. “We have older defensemen, some of them it might have been their first year last year. But we’re looking to lean on our junior goaltender and some of our senior defensemen.”

And up front?

“It’s not just the basics anymore,” Ernst said. “We have players who can work on more in-depth stuff up front, too.”

“We have to get the newer guys to be up to speed with the drills and the plays, but at least we have a lot more guys this year who are familiar with each other,” Chasse added.

Familiarity breeding success is nothing new. Neither is the same end result thanks to team depth. To that end, the Saints have started a full JV squad, and a middle school program, aimed at helping the team reach and maintain a consistent level of solid play.

“We have a new JV program, we have a new middle school program, so we have a lot of kids coming into the program, so hopefully we can bring it to a level where we can stay on top of it,” King said.

As for this year?

“There are a lot of good teams in Class B East,” King said. “We see a few new teams in from the Winslow and Lawrence area, and we also have some A teams like Lewiston and Oxford Hills on the schedule. We’re looking for a few more wins this year, and I’m hoping playoffs.”

And while King is “hoping” for the playoffs, the players are going a step further after last year’s narrow miss.

“We’re definitely making it to playoffs this year,” Chasse said without hesitation. “We’re going to play our best, we’re going to play our hardest and we know we can get there.”


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