WATERVILLE — Eddie Donnell Jr. occasionally wondered what it would be like to pick up a lacrosse stick. Usually knee-deep in football, basketball and track and field at Gardiner Area High School, he liked the physical nature of the sport while watching.

“I’d always wanted to play but it wasn’t really in the budget for me in high school,” Donnell said.

Lacrosse was the furthest thing from Donnell’s mind as a sophomore at St. Joseph’s College when David Beriau, the Monks’ new head lacrosse coach at the time, approached the 6-foot 1, 225-pound former all-conference lineman with an idea.

“I was just playing pick-up basketball. The coach saw me and asked me if I wanted to play,” said Donnell, a senior. “I told him I’d never played before, and he said, ‘I’ll get you started, because I really need defensive players.’

“I liked it right away. It was pretty fun,” added the nursing major.

Beriau threw Donnell into the fire almost immediately. He cracked the starting lineup on defense early in his sophomore season. He ended up starting eight of 13 games that year and 13 of 14 as a junior. This year, he has two ground balls and three turnovers caused for the 2-4 Monks.

Donnell is now a co-captain for the Monks, who picked up their second win of the season with a 9-5 victory at Thomas College on Sunday. Lining up across from him on Smith Field for Thomas was another local athlete who took up lacrosse as a college sophomore and went on to become a senior co-captain, midfielder Kade Strout of Richmond.

Strout played soccer, baseball and some basketball at Richmond High School, and continued playing soccer his freshman and senior years at Thomas. A friend on the lacrosse team convinced him to try the sport.

“It was hard at first, but then after a year of playing, you really get into it,” he said. “It’s a game that you can pick up easily as long as you do the work every day.”

Strout, a sports management major, played in 12 games as a sophomore, then became a regular in the midfield as a junior, starting 12 of 13 games and registering six goals and two assists.

Strout said he was excited to have former Husson University coach Marsh Gray take over the program for his senior year. The Terriers are 0-2 and rebuilding, so Strout is hoping to set a good example for others who might be fairly new to lacrosse, as he was not so long ago.

“It’s all about hard work. You don’t want kids to join the program and think that it’s going to be lackadaisical,” he said.

The Thomas women’s lacrosse team has another local newcomer to the sport just starting out. Freshman Cassidy West, of Vassalboro and Erskine Academy, has played in all three games for the Terriers.

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Belgrade’s Sadie Hammond was named the Southeastern Conference’s Women’s Tennis Player of the Week last Wednesday after collecting three ranked victories and helping the Tennessee Volunteers upset Alabama.

Hammond, a freshman, knocked off her POW predecessor, No. 21 Andie Dikosavljevic of Auburn, 6-2, 2-6, 6-4, to pick up her first career win over a top 25 opponent. The Vols lost to the 11th-ranked Tigers, 4-2, but followed with a win over the 46th-ranked Crimson Tide as Hammond combined with doubles partner Eve Repic for a point, then rallied from 5-4 down in the second set of her singles match to pick up a point over 31st-ranked Andie Daniell.

“I’ll never forget the clinching match against Alabama,” Hammond said on the team’s web site. “I knew it was a possibility that it would come down to my match, so I gave everything I had just to stay in the match and find a way to win. It wasn’t the best tennis I have played, but it was one of the hardest matches I fought for.”

Hammond carried the momentum over into her next match against 10th-ranked Ellen Perez of Georgia, winning the first set, 6-3, before Perez charged back to win the final two sets, 6-1, 6-4.

Hammond, ranked 42nd in the nation, is 20-10 on the season.

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The University of Southern Maine lacrosse team is off to its best start ever, thanks in part to Oakland’s Nate DelGiudice and Readfield’s Josh Murphy. DelGiudice, a sophomore attacker, took home the Little East Conference Offensive Player of the Week award, and Murphy, a freshman middle, earned Rookie of Week honors.

DelGiudice, from Messalonskee High School, scored 13 points, including a career-high 10 with five goals and five assists in a win over the University of Maine at Farmington. He also scooped up nine ground balls while causing three turnovers. He leads the Huskies with 13 goals and seven assists on the season.

Murphy, of Maranacook, is the Huskies’ faceoff man. He’s won 48 of 82, and also leads the team with 29 ground balls.

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Former Winslow High School guard Devin Fitzgibbons recently completed her freshman season playing basketball at Felician University in Rutherford, New Jersey. The 5-foot-4 Fitzgibbons played in 14 games for the Golden Falcons, starting four. Averaging 11.6 minutes, she scored 3.1 points per game. Her season high was eight points, which she scored in back-to-back games against Saint Anselm and St. Rose. Felician finished 2-24 in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference… 2013 Morning Sentinel Softball Player of the Year Shelby Obert of Skowhegan is batting cleanup for the 5-1 University of Southern Maine softball team. The junior is 6-for-20 (.300) with two doubles and a home run. She is second on the team with eight RBIs. The University of Maine transfer has been the Huskies’ designated player in all six games and can also play third base.