GORHAM — Keegan Smith has been setting up Seth Wing for goals since the fifth grade and now that combination is gaining traction with the University of Southern Maine men’s lacrosse team.

The duo from West Gardiner are just three games into their sophomore season with the Huskies (2-1) but are already off to a fast start, tied for the team-high in points with 11.

“Seth jumped into a captain role this year. He’s a pretty mature guy and a very serious player on the field. He takes to systems really well, he does good stuff for us,” USM coach Sam Lane said. “Keegan is a little bit more of a creative player, kind of breaks away from the model. Not freelancing, just creative on his own and that works for him. They complement each other really well.”

Their numbers thus far back up the kind of chemistry they have on the field. Smith has accounted for nine of the team’s 15 assists on the season and Wing — who leads the team with 11 goals — has been on the receiving end of five of them.

“We really know where each other are all the time on the field,” Wing said. “Keegan’s definitely the playmaker, finding the people and I’m just there to finish.”

As it is for most collegiate athletes, there was an adjustment period each had to deal with in their freshman season. The Huskies went 2-13 overall and 0-7 in the Little East Conference last year, with both Wing and Smith finishing in the top three in points on the team.

“What we did a lot in high school was very successful. We went to the college game both as freshman starters and we struggled in the beginning just to keep up with the pace,” Smith said. “We figured it out and we definitely used our freshman year as a building year.”

Both are already seeing the benefits of another year of experience and expectations for the Huskies and growing accordingly. USM has already equaled its win total form a season ago after just three games, and it will likely surpass it today when it takes on a rebuilding University of Maine-Farmington team (0-5, 0-1 North Atlantic Conference).

“It’s going excellent. We’ve definitely picked it up from last year to this year. It’s definitely a lot better,” Wing said. “With the team that we have this year and the amount of the players that have put in the work we’re definitely going to do some damage in the LEC.”

The Huskies did not lose anyone from last season’s team and also added a strong crop of freshmen in the process. The team also features a strong central Maine flavor. In addition to Wing and Smith, Nate DelGiudice (Messalonskee), Eric Vattaso (Oak Hill), Burleigh Desjardins (Brunswick), Zach Bessette (Maranacook), Tyler Jamison (Gardiner) and Zach Hamm (Brunswick) also play for the Huskies.

“It’s been awesome to just connect with those guys again and see how far they’ve come since high school,” Wing said. “I really enjoy how lacrosse has grown in the central Maine region.”

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley


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