LEWISTON — Lauren Lessard may not be the biggest lacrosse player on the field, but the Lewiston native certainly has a sizable presence for her University of Southern Maine Huskies.

The junior captain, who measures up at a mighty 4-foot-11,  is a key player at both ends of the field and an important leader on and off it. She’s among the team’s leading scorers and one of its most vocal veterans.

When her Huskies trailed Bates Tuesday at Garcelon Field, it was Lessard trying to keep her USM teammates fired up. Bates went on to beat USM 17-5.

“You always have that fire inside of you,” Lessard said. “I’m more of a player that wants to get people involved and excited and not just go out flat. So I think it’s good to be on the same page and really get us going.”

Lessard considered playing at Bates at one time but now sees a game against the No. 13 nationally-ranked Bobcats as a great challenge. The Huskies knew it was an uphill battle Tuesday, but they were excited for the opportunity.

“We come out here every year relentless,” Lessard said. “It’s a good battle no matter what. We have nothing to lose. When we play teams like Bates, Colby and Bowdoin, it gives us really good competition, and its really a good way into the season and see how we can play with these teams and keep up.”


USM (1-4) only had 17 players and fell behind 4-0 early. The Bobcats (8-1) were up 13-2 by halftime. As a second-year captain, Lessard is one of the veterans on the squad that holds things together. 

“She’s definitely one of our go-to captains leading on the field,” USM coach Ashley Dyer said. “She an all-around great kid. She does so much for our school community.”

Lessard has taken to her role naturally. She played soccer, hockey and lacrosse at Lewiston and spent her senior year at Kents Hill. She played all three sports there and was the lacrosse team captain. After scoring 14 goals and adding eight assists as a USM freshman, she was named a captain last year. She scored 18 goals and had seven assists and is now among the seasoned players on a team that features nearly a dozen underclassmen, including seven freshmen.

“She had a very strong year last year,” Dyer said. “This year, her role is a little bit higher. We have a younger team. So we’re looking up to her a lot more this year.”

Lessard doesn’t mind the responsibilities of being a team captain and leader. She has nine goals and 10 points overall this season. Tuesday, she was held scoreless but had four shots. She was still a sizable force in the Huskies lineup.

“I love it,” Lessard said of being a captain. “It has helped me grow as a person on and off the field. You get to know your teammates really well. I think with a small bench, you have to know how to be that leader on and off the field.”


With a younger squad, Lessard says a key this season has been building that trust in each other as a team. There’s a comfort level that needs to be built with so many new faces.

“We need to know each other more off the field,” Lessard said. “We need to come together. We have a lot of new girls. We need to learn how each other plays rather than go out as individuals.”

She says she tries to push her team but it also works both ways.

“I think as a team and individuals, they fire me up as much as I want to fire them up,” Lessard said. “You play good against good competition in practice and then out on the field. It makes you a better person when you’re out there.”

The Bobcats are proof of that kind of teamwork. Bates moved the ball effectively in the first half and put USM in an early hole.  Bates is now 4-0 at home.

“I think the first half we came out and were able to execute on our possessions effectively and did a pretty good job limiting them when they had the ball,” said Bates coach Brett Allen. “It was nice to able to build the lead going into halftime. The big thing is once we started to get some scoring, we were able to make sure we did it within our offense.”


Moriah Greenstein led Bates with three goals and six assists. Sydney Howard added two goals and two assists. Emma Noto, Camille Belletete, Sydney Cowles and Lili Brown each had a pair of goals. USM was led by Sarah Pelligrinelli and Heather Everett with two goals each.

Greenstein had her three goals and six assists on Bates’ first 12 goals. The All-American leads the NESAC in goals (30) by a margin of 10 and points (50) by nine. She now has 13 more career assists than any player in team history.

“She’s had a good year,” Allen said. “She’s one of those kids that finds a way to hit open teammates when she’s got the ball on her stick. She also does a great job getting into open space when she’s off ball and being in position to score. We’re certainly fortunate to have her.”

Bates scored its 17 goals on just 28 total shots, and the Bobcats took just eight shots in the second half. Bates is having its best start since going 10-0 in 1992 while USM has now lost four straight.

“Bates is a very good team and they doing very well this year,” Dyer said. “So we knew coming in it was going to be a really tough game. We made small goals from where we were last year and tried to beat them this year, and we did that. We played really well in the second half. The first half was really scary, but they pulled themselves together.”


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