Peri West is no stranger to building a team.

West — the head coach of the Thomas College women’s lacrosse team — has built two programs from scratch, first at Mt. Ida College in Massachusetts (2010-2012), and again at Hendrix College in Arkansas (2013-2016).

West is used to a challenge, which is why she is not fazed with rebuilding the Terriers’ program. Now in her second season, West guided Thomas to a 3-13 record last season. This year, the Terriers have taken their lumps — entering this week with a 1-9 record — but have also shown signs of improvement.

“We went into this season knowing it was really going to be challenging, because we lost a lot of players (from last season),” West said. “Due to graduation, transferring, just quitting. This whole year is about rebuilding and setting the foundation for the next years to come.”

That doesn’t come without bumps in the road. The Terriers started the season with an 0-7 record, and were outscored by a 129-12 margin in that span. Instead of focusing on the broad spectrum of winning an individual game, West had her team focus on small goals within each contest.

“We talk a lot about the small goals,” West said. “Every game, I’ll set a statistical small goal, that I want by (halftime). A certain amount of ground balls, or caused turnovers, or draw controls that we want each half so that — even though the score may not reflect a win — we’ve met these goals.”

West said awards are also given after games — such as a captain’s award to a player who showed exceptional effort — to keep players motivated.

It’s paid off. The Terriers picked up their first win of the season — a 10-5 victory — over Newbury back on April 8, an excellent pick-me-up for the players.

“It was nice, I think (the team) certainly needed that,” West said. “It is hard, day in and day out, going into those tougher games…They were certainly excited.”

Thomas has also picked up the pace offensively, tallying 12 goals over the last three games. Senior midfielder Kimberly Banks has led the way offensively for the Terriers, as she has 10 points (nine goals, one assist) for the season. Senior midfielder Amira Jones (five goals) and sophomore attack Alexis Felch (five goals) have also been key contributors.

It’s been welcome improvement for West, who feels the team has set the foundation for continued improvement in the future.

“Overall, they’re an amazing group,” West said. “They may not be the most experienced lacrosse players, but they’re very hard working. They’re very athletic, and our team chemistry is the best it’s ever been at Thomas College. They have certainly reached our goal of building a good foundation. I can’t really ask for much more. It is what it is this year, but despite the record, we have a good class coming in. We’re building.”

• • •

The Colby College women’s lacrosse team has enjoyed a successful — and certainly competitive — first 12 games of the regular season.

The Mules are 7-5 so far this season. Of Colby’s five losses, none have been by more than two goals. Three have been by one goal, one of which was in overtime (a 12-11 loss to Wesleyan on March 31).

Colby head coach Karen Henning has been pleased with her team’s play so far this season.

“We’re just trying to push it over the top,” Henning said. “There’s no overhaul needed, nothing crazy. It’s just gaining that momentum and holding that momentum.”

Indeed, much has gone right for the Mules. Colby has scored 160 goals this season (an average of more than 13 goals per game). The Mules are led offensively by senior attack Sasha Fritts, who has tallied 41 points (38 goals, three assists), and sophomore attack Emma Banks who has added 18 goals.

The only area of struggle for Colby has been in its own conference. Within the New England Small College Athletic Conference, the Mules have a 3-5 record, good for seventh in the conference.

“Every time we step on the field, we’re competing,” Henning said. “We’re focused. We want to win the small battles, and I think that’s who we are. There are players who have played together for multiple years, and we’re still trying to figuring it out, at some points, during a game. I think, just cleaning that up so we really know what each other is doing, is what can really help in those situations in crunch time.”

With three games remaining, the Mules can still make up some ground, with games scheduled against Trinity (9-3, 5-3) and Bates (7-5, 2-5). They also have a non-conference contest Tuesday against the University of Southern Maine. Henning wants her team to remain focused — and keep their competitive edge — during the final three games.

“Just stay disciplined, not letting one of our mistakes cost us,” Henning said. “Make sure (an opposing goal is) something earned by the other team.”

• • •

Two former area players set records last week for the University of Southern Maine men’s lacrosse team.

During a 22-9 victory over Husson on April 10, senior attack Seth Wing, a West Gardiner resident and Gardiner graduate, became the Huskies’ all-time leading scorer by notching his 92nd career goal, passing Tim Bryant (2009-2011). Through 11 games this season, Wing leads USM with 19 goals. He also has seven assists.

In the same win over Husson, senior goalkeeper Zach Bessette, a Readfield native and Maranacook graduate, notched his 19th career win in net for the Huskies, a new program record.

USM (5-6) hits the road to play Salem State on Wednesday.

Dave Dyer – 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Dave_Dyer

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