AUBURN — There’s a sense of fresh air across the athletic fields at St. Dominic Academy as the first week of practices have started for the Saints.

Athletic director J. P. Yorkey had to make four hires for the fall season, including three new head coaches in Josh Shaw (boys soccer), Tyler Shennett (girls soccer) and Abigail Bowie (field hockey). Veteran coach Dan Campbell is coaching the cross country team along with Josh and Krista Brown, who will be entering their fifth year coaching at St. Dom’s.

Campbell was hired in the spring to also coach the track and field program.

Three of the six sports St. Dom’s offers in the fall have new head coaches, but Yorkey feels like he has had enough time to get them accumulated to their new positions.

“I feel like I was able to work on each of them independently,” Yorkey said.

The three new hires all have graduated high school in the past ten years. Shaw is a 2009 graduate of Mountain Valley. Shennett is a 2010 graduate of Edward Little, while Bowie is a 2013 graduate of Kents Hill School.

They each played their sport in college — Shaw at the University of Maine-Presque Isle for three seasons, Shennett for one year at St. Joe’s and Bowie four years at St. Michael’s in Vermont.

The three new coaches have gotten to know each other over the summer.

“I got to know them at the staff meeting last week and I got to know Tyler this summer working with (him),” Shaw said. “We have a lot of the same coaching philosophies. We come from the club level and we played in college. So, we have similar philosophies and playing styles as a coach. It’s great working with him and getting to know him.”

Shennett and Davis worked a youth camp over the summer to get to know each other before official practices started this week. Both have also coached with the Global Premier Soccer program down in Portland. Shennett also has coached at Seacoast United, a club team that is based around Northern New England.

There’s a sense of camaraderie among the three new coaches.

“(When) we had our head coaches meeting we had a sense of camaraderie,” Bowie said. “We are (all) in the same boat if you will, being young coaches and breaking into this school together. We haven’t had time to hang out besides work, but I am sure it will happen. They are nice guys.”

Bowie has helped out at college camps, including the camp Bates College puts on as her sister, Katherine Bowie, is an assistant coach with the Bobcats. This is Abigail’s first head coaching job.

For Shennett as a rookie head coach when it comes to the high school ranks, he can lean on Campbell for some things. He ran track at EL when Campbell was coaching the Red Eddies.

“If I ever need anything fitness-wise, I would definitely talk to Dan,” Shennett said. “Again, he helped me in high school and if I ever (needed) fitness tips, I know he can always give them to me.”

Yorkey believes all four coaches can build onto their individual programs.

“We have great student-athletes, we really do. They are well rounded kids, most of them are three-sport kids and do well academically,” Yorkey said. “They are good to coach, so we paired that with some really good coaches, and I think all four programs have had some success of late. They all have some really good cultures and I think that’s going to continue.”

THIRD COACH IN FOUR YEARS FOR BOTH GIRLS SOCCER AND FIELD HOCKEY

There have been plenty of new faces when it comes to the Saints field hockey and girls soccer coaches. Jenn Brown (field hockey) and Patrick Keary had to step down after last season. Prior to that, Brian Kay coached field hockey the previous 18 years and Alicia Pelletier coached girls soccer from 2013-16.

It has been a transition for the athletes.

“It’s definitely different, but I am definitely excited because (Bowie coaches more) towards defense because I play defense,” Avery Greco said. “So, I am really excited to hear what she has to say and what advice she has.”

Bowie’s coaching style is geared more on the defensive side because she was a goalie in her playing days.

Greco also likes that Bowie won’t make the team run because of punishment.

Greco likes Bowie because she’s young and can understand what her players are going through on and off the field.

The Saints lost in the Class C South regional semifinal to Mountain Valley after winning the state championship in 2017

For the girls soccer team, while it’s not ideal that they are on their third coach in their high school career, they have seen the pitch from many different angles.

“It’s been difficult, but honestly, you get a different feel for playing styles,” defenseman Raegan Hachey said. “I think, honestly, it gives us an advantage in a way because we know how different teams play because we’ve played so many different ways.”

Yorkey credits Keary for building the program up the past two seasons, which ended last year with the Saints losing in the prelims to Winthrop.

They put in the work this summer soccer season to build on that performance.

“We worked hard this summer,” midfielder Becca Zimmerman said. “We got four practices in a week and then we played games, we did pretty well in those. Everybody took it seriously and seems dedicated.”

BOYS SOCCER MAKES AN TRANSITION BUT WANT TO RESPECT THE PAST

Unlike the girls soccer program, the boys are used to a longtime coach in Marty Bressler. Now for the eight seniors on the team, they have to adapt to Shaw’s style

The players are looking for that clean slate after a tough loss to Sacopee Valley in the Class C South prelims.

“It’s definitely a change in the scene, but it’s a good change” said Zack Pelletier. “He’s a really nice guy, a good coach and he knows his stuff.”

Both the players and Shaw want to create new traditions, while also respecting the past.

“It allows us to create a new culture and also keep the culture we have had the past eight years,” Jack Ouellette said.

A lot of the boys’ players helped out with the camp Shaw put on with Shennett, which allowed the chemistry to build between the players and Shaw. Shaw saw how hard Ouellette and fellow senior Jaden Webster worked at the camp.

“Jaden and (I) worked the camp all week and we got to get real close to coach and it allowed us to see what he wants to do with the season,” Ouellette said.

They were rewarded as they are captains this season along with Pelletier, who was already a captain.


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