It is more than halfway through the girls high school lacrosse season, yet the playoff race in Eastern Class B is still a bit murky.

Oceanside sits atop the division at 6-1, while Morse (4-3), Winslow (4-2), Yarmouth (4-3), Freeport (3-4), Camden Hills (2-5) and Gardiner (3-5) round out the top seven. As the schedule winds down, however, teams like Morse, Yarmouth, Freeport and Gardiner may be in better position for the postseason than their records indicate, as each have played significantly tougher schedules.

“We opened up with Morse, Mt. Ararat and Greely,” Gardiner coach Chad Kirk said. “That’s tough for anybody.”

The Tigers started the season 0-4, but have gone 3-1 since with wins over Lincoln Academy, Edward Littler and Erskine. While the team’s record may take a hit, Gardiner is hoping that playing tougher competition will be to its benefit.

“We’re a lot better than the record looks,” Gardiner junior Nickyia Lovely said. “We’re strong as a team and we’re very good on offense and defense. We can move the ball around really well.”

While Winslow’s schedule has not played quite the same level of competition as other teams, it has still proven itself to be a capable playoff contender in its first varsity season. Part of the Black Raiders’ success has been strong play in goal from junior Harley Fitch.

“She’s definitely improved as the season has gone on. She’s been a rock for us,” Winslow coach Sean Carey said. “I also have one of my former goalies at Thomas (Jasmine Bishop) as an assistant coach who is coaching her on a daily basis. I’ve got someone that’s focused on working with my goalie at least an hour a day.”

In addition to Fitch, Carey also said he has gotten strong contributions on the draw from Cassidy Roderick, Heather Kervin and Sabrina Jandreau, while Mackenzie Winslow has been solid on attack as well.

• • •

After winning a championship this winter as the starting goalie with the Messalonskee boys hockey team, Elija Tuell is once again settling in as a starting goalkeeper, this time with the boys lacrosse team.

Tuell — who played defense for the Eagles (5-3 Class A East) last spring — said after practice Monday that he has found both similarities and differences between the position in hockey and lacrosse.

“It hurts a lot more. It hurts so much more,” he said with a laugh. “It’s a little bit the same in the reflexes of it, but just the playing is kind of different. It’s a different mindset.”

Tuell has missed two of Messalonskee’s eight games this season for doctor’s appointments for a hip injury he suffered during hockey season, but said Monday he should be good to go the rest of the way. The team’s lone senior starter, Tuell has provided valuable experience and has teamed well with starting defensemen Devin Pickett, Alec Currie and Chase Borssen.

“His experience being a defenseman and also being a goalie, he can communicate on the field,” Messalonskee coach Tom Sheridan said. “The big thing with Elija is part of his game is helping people on the field know where to be and stuff like that, moving people around.”

• • •

At 6-2 in Eastern B, the Gardiner boys have set themselves up well for the playoffs with just four games remaining in the regular season. Even still, Tigers coach K.C. Johnson still sees room for improvement.

“Right now we’re trying to gain a little consistency,” Johnson said. “We’re getting there.”

Last week was a prime example of what Johnson was talking about. On Monday, May 11 Gardiner scored a big 14-4 win over previously undefeated Windham (6-1 Class A East), but were not as sharp in an 11-4 victory against Winslow (3-3) two days later. This past Saturday they held a definitive advantage in shots in a 8-7 loss to North Yarmouth Academy (3-5).

The Tigers are still looking to be more consistent at the offensive end, yet defensively they have been solid throughout. They have allowed double-digit goals only twice this season — 10 each to Morse and Maranacook/Winthrop — and on average are giving up just under six scores per game.

Players like Jake Truman, Wyatt Blair, Kaleb Caron, Cam Bell and Jacob Folsom, among others, have played a key role in that, and the Tigers should get a boost within the next week or two when senior Andrew Doody-Veilleux returns from a fractured hand he suffered during the preseason.

“He’s a physical presence out there,” Johnson said. “He was just coming into his own in lacrosse.”

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.