Gardiner Area High School senior to be Ally Day admits lacrosse is third among her favorite sports behind soccer and basketball. But that doesn’t mean she’s not any good at it.

In fact, outgoing coach Andy Haskell calls her the best player in the state that nobody ever heard of.

“It’s the combination of raw athleticism and great understanding of the game,” Haskell said. “She just has a natural feel for the game.”

Day scored 59 goals and added 16 assists to lead the Tigers to a 9-3 regular season, their best ever in five years of existence. For her efforts, Day has been named the Kennebec Journal Girls Lacrosse Player of the Year. Cony’s Bayleigh Logan and Emily Quirion and Gardiner’s Brooke Davis were also considered.

Day began playing lacrosse in the eighth grade for the Gardiner Boys and Girls Club team and progressed through high school.

“I just wanted something to do in the spring,” she said “My sister Jenn did it and I just followed her.”

Day originally played defense, an aspect of the game she said she enjoys most. But because of her rocket shot, she moved into a scoring position.

“She’s a great two-way player, one of our top checkers,” Haskell said. “When we realized what a great shot she had we moved her to midfield.”

Day attributes a lot of her scoring success to the fact she’s left-handed, but Haskell said it goes much further than that, beginning with her natural strength and quickness.

“She just has incredible hands,” he said. “I think she’s probably got one of the hardest shots in the state.”

The season was a breakout one for the Tigers who a year ago went 2-12. Haskell said a lot of the tactics and philosophies he installed last season kicked in this spring. Day said she was surrounded by couple of experienced scorers in Davis and Julie Krause which helped take some pressure off her. Still, she had her doubts if Haskell didn’t.

“Coach just kept telling us we were going to be really good,” Day said. “I wasn’t really expecting it.”

All three of Gardiner’s losses this season came to Class A playoff teams — Cony, Lewiston and Messalonskee — while the Tigers were upset in the playoffs by Morse. They did, however, knock off Brunswick, a traditional Class A power, led by Day who scored six goals, including the game-winner with about five seconds left to play.

“We were real flat,” Haskell said. “She just came to play and took over the game.”

Day said coming from behind in that game and others was one of the more satisfying aspects of her season.

“I really like if we get down,” she said. “We just pick it back up and we do what we need to.”

Day was also a team captain who Haskell called a great leader, a team player and a role model.

“Being a captain it made a point for me to be positive,” Day said. “Especially with the younger kids.”

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

[email protected]

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