WINSLOW — If the Winslow girls lacrosse team doesn’t win another game this season, the year will already be a smashing success. Of course, nobody involved with the Black Raiders feels like the end is in sight just yet.

“I think it speaks volumes for the program itself,” Winslow coach Shawn Carey said. “This is the foundation that’s getting us to where we are going. It was only a matter of time before we had the maturity and the understanding of the game.”

In just its fourth year of existence, the Winslow program posted a perfect 12-0 record in the regular season. The third-seeded Black Raiders enter the Class C state quarterfinals on Friday against No. 6 Erskine. Faceoff is set for 4 p.m. at Kennebec Savings Bank Field in Winslow.

Winslow is one of just two teams in the entire state (Class A Kennebunk is the other) to enter the postseason unbeaten. For a team that graduated only one senior a year ago — and has just four on the roster this spring — the future is bright.

But the future can wait a few more days, as far as the Black Raiders are concerned.

“I think, of course, it’s a big step from last year,” sophomore Silver Clukey said. “We improved as a team, we really came together, but there is more work that can be done to improve. Everything we do going forward is a big step for us.”

“We’re going to push it as deep as it can go. We’ll go as far as we can go (in the playoffs),” Carey said. “I believe in my team. I know what they’re capable of. We beat some teams that we’d never beaten before.”

Among those first-time victories for the Black Raiders came against Boothbay and Oceanside, which had previously been thorns in Winslow’s side. They opened the season with their first of three wins over Class A teams this season, at playoff-bound Noble, and then got a signature victory in the regular season finale against Boothbay, coming back in the final minute to win by a goal.

After a mediocre 6-6 season in 2017, Carey was determined to take a bunch of athletes and turn them into a lacrosse team.

“Our team bond was a lot stronger this year,” senior captain Alyssa Currie said. “It was like a new team last year with freshmen being a big part of it. For me, I just tried to keep it kind of positive and always be willing to do whatever needs to be done.”

What Carey was selling worked. Savannah Joler and Clukey, both sophomores, have been key goal-scorers for Winslow. They could hardly be categorized as the only two players in two-pronged attack.

Depth has been instrumental for the Black Raiders.

“It’s a team effort — I don’t want us to be a team of one superstar,” Carey said. “I want us to be a team of players, not so much ‘me’ as ‘we.’ If someone’s open, give the ball to them. That’s one thing we keyed on.”

On the back end, the team has been consistent. The emergence of sophomore goalie Carrie Selwood — she has been “outstanding,” Carey said — made a young group a dynamic one.

They will be tested in the quarterfinal against Erskine, a team Winslow knows well. In just a few seasons, the Eagles and Raiders have developed a good rivalry, albeit one tilted in Winslow’s direction.

Erskine nearly put a dent in Winslow’s quest for an undefeated season on May 18 — in the fourth game of a four-game week for the Black Raiders — before Winslow rallied for a 9-8 win.

In a year full of big wins, the victory stood out.

“Our schedule isn’t the toughest, but it’s still 12 games,” Carey said. “Going undefeated is the hardest thing to do in sports. I give all the credit to the girls. I can’t say anything else about them. Whatever happens (in the playoffs), we’ll keep building. Everything is about building this for the future.”

“Of course, the big goal is to win a state championship, but we have to take it by little steps,” Clukey said. “It’s winning the first round, see what comes next, and just chip away at one thing after another to see where it goes.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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