Though just three games into the regular season, Messalonskee girls lacrosse coach Ashley Pullen already says her team is playing better than it did at the end of last season, which ended with a 13-5 loss to Marshwood in the Class A state championship.

“We picked up exactly where we left off,” Pullen said, “and we’ve only grown from there in the preseason and through the course of the regular season.”

That’s a scary thought for the Eagles’ opposition considering they have been playing without their top scorer from a season ago, Nathalie St. Pierre. The senior midfielder badly sprained her ankle in a scrimmage against Kents Hill on April 16.

“We’re winning big without her, which has been incredible,” Pullen said. “She just finally got clearance to start jogging and non-intense workouts. We’re hoping she may be able to play a little bit on Thursday.”

In St. Pierre’s absence, sophomore Ally Turner has stepped up to pace the offense for Messalonskee. She had four goals in a 14-3 win over Mt. Ararat last Thursday and eight in a 19-7 win over Cheverus on Saturday. Turner was a key contributor as a freshman and finished the season with 30 goals, but Pullen said she has returned even stronger this spring.

“To think she could come in at the beginning of this season and be that much better I wouldn’t have imagined it,” Pullen said.

Pullen also noted that sophomores Haley Lowell and Lauren Pickett and senior India Languet have also filled in well in the midfield in St. Pierre’s absence.

• • •

It has been a feeling-out process so far for the Gardiner boys lacrosse team and its young roster.

“Overall, we’re super young,” Tigers coach K.C. Johnson said. “We’ll get better as the year goes on. We just have to keep the faith and keep working hard.”

That has been particularly evident in goal this season. Senior Spencer King started in net for the Tigers last spring, but this season has transitioned to long stick midfielder.

“He’s got great size and pretty good range,” Johnson said. “He’s getting better and better. He’s physically matured this past year.”

The move has left a pair of underclassmen, sophomore Noah Keene and freshman Warren Karlberg, to vie for the starting goalie gig.

“Whoever plays better in practice the day before will see the start,” Johnson said. “I like the competitiveness.”

• • •

A pair of first-year players helped two girls teams win defensive struggles last week.

Kami Lambert, a freshman at Cony, drew the assignment of McAuley’s Kaeli Leddy — whom the Rams deemed as the Lions’ top scoring threat — and held the senior to just one goal in a 5-4 win Saturday in Portland.

“She scored their first goal but didn’t score after that,” Cony coach Gretchen Livingston said. “We held them scoreless for 16 minutes in that first half.”

In a 6-4 win over Boothbay last Thursday, Erskine trailed 4-2 at the half largely due to the play of the Seahawks’ Kate Friant. The junior had a hand in each of Boothbay’s goals, scoring two herself and assisting on two others.

“We placed Abby Haskell on her and she didn’t score in the second half,” Erskine coach Shara MacDonald said.

Haskell, a junior, spent her first two springs at Erskine on the girls outdoor track and field team before switching to lacrosse this season.

• • •

Coming into this season the Winslow boys had lofty expectations. Those haven’t changed, said coach Bruce Lambrecht, despite the team’s 1-2 start.

“We still do have high expectations. We have a high level of talent,” Lambrecht said. “This is by far the best team chemistry I’ve had and I think we’re trying to integrate some new, younger players to mix well with the older players to get that synergy.”

The Black Raiders have played well in spots against strong competition, yet Lambrecht said an inability to put together a complete game has cost them in some close games. Winslow lost to Maranacook/Winthrop 8-5 on April 23 and 11-8 to Cony last Saturday.

“You’ve got to play every minute,” Lambrecht said. “A team like Cony, they’re all big, tough and athletic. When you have a spotty quarter that’s why you lose by three.”

Evan Crawley – 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley

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