A season ago, the Cony boys lacrosse team was nowhere near the Eastern A playoffs, having gone a woeful 2-10 .

Despite the losing record, coach Chad Foye had seen enough effort out of his team during the season to believe a future turnaround was possible.

“We were playing a little smoother, more like a lacrosse team,” Foye said. “Last year, I counted six plays that kept us from a .500 record. We had our chances, whether it was (lacking) confidence or other teams making good plays. We just didn’t finish off plays we could have to get more wins. I just saw that and knew how hard these guys worked.”

Cony made those plays this spring.

The Rams finished 8-4 and earned the No. 5 seed in the Eastern A playoffs. They will travel to Topsham today for a quarterfinal game against No. 4 Mt. Ararat (8-4).

The game will be new experience for every player on the roster because it’s been more than four years since the Rams last reached the playoffs.

“This senior class is pretty special,” Foye said. “We were going to move some people around a little bit (before the season) and I was hoping they’d be good at the places we put them at. Between the adjustments we made and the work ethic, we’re just a better team this year.”

Cony struggled in its first five games. It went 2-3, including wins over Oxford Hills and Lewiston. Cony lost to Mt. Ararat, Brunswick and Messalonskee during that stretch, teams that later would reach the Eastern A playoffs.

The Rams then rebounded up with a 16-0 win over Mt. Blue on May 10, before grabbing a 9-8 overtime win over Edward Little on May 14 in a game players said provided a much-needed boost.

“Last year we would lose games by two or three (goals),” senior midfielder Kevin Kingsbury said. “This year we were down by two or three and we ended up coming back and tying it up in the fourth quarter, went into overtime and then pulled out the win. Right there it was like ‘Wow, we can actually finish games now; we’re going to have a good season.'”

Cony went 6-1 in its final seven games, out-scoring opponents 81-32. The Rams scored 117 goals this season for an average of nearly 10 a game.

“I just think it’s one more year of experience at the varsity level,” Kingsbury said. “We’re used to getting checked and scooping (ground balls). I just think it’s that extra year of experience that’s helping us out offensively.”

Defensively, the Rams allowed 72 goals for an average of six goals per game.

“I see a different focus right now,” senior goalkeeper Isaac Gingras said. “It started a little shaky at the beginning of the season. We had three big senior leaders come in with no real defensive experience; they all came from being good defensive midfielders. After those first five games where we had a little bit of a rocky start, I think the defense really start to pull together.”

Having vision of the entire field and the opponents’ offensive attack, Gingras helps his new defenders by helping them locate the ball.

“I do what I can to keep them updated with where the ball is on the field and they can make their switches accordingly and (they) do what they can to get to the ball and it definitely helps out.”

To continue their season, the Rams will have to get past the Eagles. The teams split their regular season meetings — the Eagles won a 7-4 decision earlier this spring before the Rams rallied for a 7-5 win later in the year.

“You can’t really get more evenly matched than that,” Foye said. “I think we’re a little more athletic up front. I think their stick skills are good and they move the ball around really well. If we just go out and play our game we can move around pretty well. We have guys that can win (ground ball) battles and get to balls quickly. “

Foye added his team will also need to limit its penalties.

“A big thing for us is staying even-manned. If we are man down a lot, that’s where we struggle,” Foye said. “(Mt. Ararat) moves the ball around quickly and they finish their shots and they get to the net real quick. If we can stay even-man, we’re in good shape.”

With the Rams a new entry to the playoffs, Kingsbury said teams could overlook the Rams.

“We’re going to go out and play as hard as we can,” Kingsbury said. “Any game could be our last game and we can’t look past any team. We’re going to play like that — they might not and that would certainly benefit us.”

Gingras said the Rams are hopeful to play the role of spoiler in the playoffs.

“It’s really a new experience in lacrosse for us,” Gingras said. “I think as long as we stay focused and keep the demeanor we’ve had throughout the season, we have a good shot to upset some of the games going on around the state, screw up the standings a little bit.”

Dave Dyer — 621-5639

[email protected]

Twitter: @Dave_Dyer

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