Lawrence field hockey coach Shawna Robinson acknowledged it was a bit strange to scrimmage Messalonskee on Tuesday afternoon.

After all, the rivals won’t see each other in the regular season with Lawrence dropping from Class A to B.

“It was strange for everybody,” said Robinson, whose team fell 4-3. “We were not used to that.”

The Bulldogs went 14-3 last season and reached the Eastern A championship game, which it lost to Skowhegan.

Now in B North, expectations are even higher.

“We know it’s going to be a tough road,” Robinson said. “Everyone we play will be new to us so that makes it hard. But we’ll be ready. We have a good team. Conditioning-wise, we’re good. We’re healthy, which is great because last preseason we got banged up a little bit.”

• • •

The Cony girls volleyball team will once again feature a young roster, but fourth-year coach Dennis Dacus said he’s been impressed with what he’s seen throughout the preseason.

“They’re competing hard,” he said. “We have a good group this year, a big group, too. We have 22 kids in the program.”

With a good turnout, the Rams will look to improve upon a 3-11 season from last fall.

Still, Dacus knows what his program is up against.

“We play teams like Falmouth, South Portland who have kids who play year-round,” he said. “We play teams where volleyball is a first sport for a lot of their kids. Here, it’s a third sport for a lot of the girls, and that’s OK. It really is. I know we’ll still compete.”

The Rams return four seniors — Sydney Cheever, Jessica Rollins, Selena Garside and Haley Greene — who will lead the way.

“We have some competitive kids,” Dacus added.

• • •

Where are the freshmen athletes at Monmouth Academy?

That’s the question girls soccer coach Gary Trafton and cross country coach Tom Menendez are asking these days.

Menendez had just one freshman come out — Brianna Cameron — while Trafon had just two — Olivia Sirois and Kayla Brooks.

Why the shortage?

“No idea,” Menendez said. “It’s not like they are doing other sports. We only have cross country and soccer for girls sports in the fall. Internally, we’re trying to figure out what’s going on. We’re looking at a whole bunch of girls who don’t want to do anything.”

Added Trafton: “I don’t know, either. I know we have double sessions and they are really hard so maybe they didn’t want to come out. We’re trying to get them involved. We want them out.”

• • •

For the past two seasons Camden Hills has been a thorn in the Maine Central Institute golf team’s side.

The Huskies had Class B title aspirations in each of the last two years, but each time could only stand by and watch at the end of the day as the Windjammers hoisted the championship trophy.

This fall, however, MCI will no longer have to worry about its “nemesis,” as Huskies coach Paul Greco referred to them in an interview late last week, as Camden Hills’ athletic director Steve Alex confirmed via email Tuesday the Windjammers have moved up to Class A.

While one rival has left, a potential new one has joined the ranks of Class B in Oceanside, Mariners athletic director Molly Bishop confirmed Wednesday. Both moves were also confirmed Wednesday by Maine Principals Association executive director Gerry Durgin.

Oceanside’s arrival in Class B not only means the arrival of a new contender for the team title, but also for the individual one as well. Nick Mazurek, a senior, shared the Class A individual title with Bangor’s Drew Powell last season and will be the early favorite for top honors in Class B.

• • •

Like a lot of families that share a passion for soccer, Michael Walsh and daughter Erin Wood have had many conversations about the sport. But they will be taking their dialogue to a new level this year, as the new girls varsity co-coaches at Madison.

“We’d be talking about it anyway,” Walsh said. “This way it’s really constructive.”

They are taking over for Mike Herrick, who stepped down last winter to spend more time with his family after four years at the helm.

Wood spent last year as Herrick’s assistant. Prior to that, she was the middle school coach at Madison Junior High for eight years and coached rec soccer. Walsh has helped her out on a voluntary basis when available over the years and done some youth soccer coaching.

Neither would claim credit for the idea of being co-coaches. Given their backgrounds and familiarity with the players, it seemed like a natural fit to go into their first varsity coaching job together.

“We had the conversation that we wanted to apply together and spoke to the athletic director (Chris LeBlanc) about that intention,” Wood said.

Like the decision to apply for the job together, Walsh and Wood will make their coaching decisions mutually rather than dividing up the responsibilities.

“So far, sharing the role has worked really well,” Walsh said. “We both enjoy the game and we think a lot alike. But we’re able to talk things through and I think make better decisions as a result.”

Wood, whose daughter, Madeline, was an all-conference midfielder as a sophomore last year, has coached most of the Bulldogs up through the ranks and saw them win the Mountain Valley Conference championship last year with one of the youngest teams in the league. They graduated five seniors and return Wood, all-conference forward Kayla Bess, goalkeeper Erin Whalen and a large freshman class that played a key role in last year’s success.

Bess said the Bulldogs are excited to have new coaches they are familiar with, and vice-versa, and don’t think adjusting to the co-coaches dynamic will be difficult.

“They both have different perspectives and that helps our team out a lot. I think it’s a great thing,” Bess said.

Walsh and Wood said they believe they are the only father-daughter combination listed as co-head coaches in Maine high school soccer. There are some local duos who work on the same coaching staff, though not officially listed as co-coaches. At Hall-Dale, which upset top-seeded Madison in the Western C quarterfinals last year, Margaret Cousins serves as JV coach and assistant for her father, Guy. At Nokomis, former Foxcroft Academy girls coach Whitney Sinclair, who was a two-time All-American at UMaine-Fort Kent, has joined her father, Gary, as assistant coach with the intention of grooming her to replace him when he retires at the end of the season.

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