GRAY — The Gray-New Gloucester/Poland girls lacrosse team ended the 2022 season on a high note.

The offense clicked in a 12-6 victory against Fryeburg Academy — one of three wins for the 26ers. Gray-New Gloucester/Poland enters the 2023 season trying to capture what made them successful in the regular-season finale.

“I mean, it was a great game. I think we were all in a mindset of, it’s our senior night, we have to win,” sophomore Amelia Foster said. “I think having the entire season, for us, I think we were like, this is it. We had fun on the sidelines, and I think it was a matter of having a mindset. We were talking a lot, we were having a lot of fun. It really helps to click as a team.”

Foster said the team was having fun in the final game because they weren’t focused solely on the end result.

“We definitely realized that, because if you aren’t having fun, it’s not super fun and a lot of pressure,” Foster said. “But if you are having fun, you are having the time of your life.”

In the victory over the Raiders on June 1, midfielders Andrea Smith and Ellie Steele each tallied a hat trick. The key to their success was passing, and they hope to replicate that this season.


“I think everybody is looking forward to the season because of that game,” Steele said. “I felt the ball movement in that game, in particular, was incredible. We really started to work together, trust each other, and our teamwork really improved. I have definitely seen that so far in the preseason, and everybody is really excited to keep moving forward with that.”

Smith said she has noticed that the team is motivated to build off of the final regular season game of 2022.

“I think it was a good way to end it off because it set the tone on how we were going to come into this season,” Smith said earlier this week. “First week of practice is down and everybody is putting in a lot of work and a lot of effort. It seems we really have a really good season ahead of us.”

Team chemistry also started to form at the end of last season, especially among the midfielders.

“I think last year, finally at the end of the year, we started to see each other on the field,” Smith, a senior, said. “We got a feel for really trusting each other, and coming into this season, that trust and being able to see each other has really formed the last week and a half, which is going to help us once we get on the field.”

Gray-New Gloucester/Poland’s first-year coach Melissa Bowie said chemistry will be important and she made a point to work on developing it early in the preseason.


“We are really focusing on teamwork right now and building that team bond,” Bowie said. “On top of that, we will get into skills, and we are going to change things up.”

Bowie said the 26ers are moving players to different positions to better utilize the players’ individual skill sets.

Midfield and attack are the team’s strongest positions. Bowie said many players have the potential to be scoring threats this season, and she doesn’t want one or two players doing most of the heavy lifting.

“I think having depth in our midfield will be helpful because they can play both ends of the field really well,” Bowie said. “They will help the young defense but also support the strong attack that we have going. If we keep scoring, we will be in good shape.”

One skill the team is focusing on in preseason is shooting. Bowie said they have plenty of strong shooters.

Steele said the shooting practice has involved improving their shots and working on getting open for a shooting opportunities.


“Repetition is the biggest thing,” Steele said. “We have been working a lot on dodges.”

A dodge allows a player to get open for a shot or a pass.

Like the other 49 girls lacrosse programs in the state, the goal for the 26ers is to get an opportunity to play in the postseason. They got a taste of it last year when they lost to eventual Class C runner-up Wells in the first round.

The Gray-NG/Poland players say that if they play hard, positive results will follow.

“I think we have our sights set pretty high,” Smith said. “We really want to push each other; we want to push ourselves. While we don’t have any expectations just yet, on a number or anything, whatever we do, we want to do it as a team, knowing that we all left it all on the field.”

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