The Saints have been building toward fielding a varsity girls’ team the past few years, and now, St. Dom’s makes that leap to the next level.

“It’s been a long process,” St. Dom’s coach Leslie Klenk said. “We’ve been hoping for this for a long time. We’ve been building up through the rec program since these girls were in the third grade. Then, we had the junior high program, and last year we were successful at the junior varsity level. So we’re really looking forward to competing with the varsity clubs and seeing how we do.”

The Saints are a team full of returning sophomores with some new freshman joining the cause.

“It’s a new challenge,” said Madison Leslie, a sophomore defender. “We’re very excited.”

The team fared well at the JV level a year ago, finishing the season 9-2 after many of these players started playing in rec programs and then at the junior high level. The team then learned it would make the move to varsity this season.

“I think it definitely gives us a lot of confidence, but I also think we want a little competition,” said sophomore midfielder Rileigh Stebbins of last year’s success. “We don’t want to be over confident. I know we’re just going to go out and play our game.”

The team can already see some improvement from last year and hopes that shows on the field when the season starts Apil 21 with a home game against Oceanside.

“I think we’re ready,” said Caroline Gastonguay, a sophomore midfielder. “The stick skills have gotten a lot better and we’ve just grown closer as a group. We’ve played a lot so far as a team.”

Many of the players on this squad play other sports together. So they may be growing in the sport but they’re a seasoned group of teammates. They hope that can be an advantage.

“I love these girls” Leslie said. “Our team is really close and it’s really nice to be able to get out and play with them.”

Still in the Mountain Valley Conference for one more season, St. Dom’s had to look to the KVAC for a schedule. Boothbay is the only other MVC team with girls’ lacrosse, so the Saints will play some KVAC clubs while competiting in Class B North. St. Dom’s schedule includes Edward Little, Morse, Lincoln Academy and Winslow from the KVAC, with Boothbay and WMC school Fryeburg added in the mix.

“We are a first-year team, but it doesn’t mean we don’t have experience,” Klenk said. “We have a lot of kids that have played since the third grade, and we have some newcomers as well. We’re going to take it game by game. We have goals for each game that will remain the same. If we meet those goals, hopefully, we’ll be a competitive team and do well this year.”

The motto for the season is “Saints Together.” It’s mantra the team hopes can help it through growing pains. Being part of the first varsity team is an exciting step and to carry it forward the next few years is the players’ goal.

“Some of us play sports all year round with each other,” Stebbins said. “So coming back and playing lacrosse together makes it even better.”

“We want to make it to playoffs but all we can control is how hard we compete,” Gastonguay said. “You really can’t control the outcome of it. So how hard we hustle and how much grit we have and playing as a close knit group is what’s going to get us there.”

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