Mt. Blue’s Evan Stone (8) checks Gray-New Gloucester’s Trenton Ovecash (25) during a lacrosse game at Lewiston High School in April. Sun Journal photo by Tony Blasi

The Mt. Blue boys’ lacrosse team has a long memory, especially when it comes to the Camden Hills Windjammers.

Just ask Mt. Blue coach Kevin Averill, whose 10th-seeded Cougars (5-7)  will take on No. 7 Camden Hills (5-7) in Rockport on Wednesday at 5 p.m. in a lacrosse Class B preliminary game.

“We played them and lost 8-5,” Averill said. “ We need to play 48 minutes. We jumped out to a 4-0 lead on them when we played each other in the regular season. We had many chances to score, but didn’t put it in the back of the net enough. Defensively, we need to make sure we know who is sliding and where to slide to, as they were using quite a bit of isolation against us.”

But Averill is not surprised his Cougars slipped into the postseason.

“We got into the playoffs because of being persistent and putting in work,” Averill said. “We are a gritty team that continues to persevere.

“No, I’m not surprised that we are in the playoffs. We had it as one of our team goals at the beginning of the season.”

Mt. Blue coach Kevin Averill watches the action as Quinn Giustra (36) stands by in a field hockey game in Wales in June 2017. Sun Journal photo by Tony Blasi

Averill pointed out that camaraderie is a strength for the Cougars.

“They are a great group of kids to be around,” he said. “They get along great with each other and have truly embraced the “Family” motto that we are constantly preaching.”

Looking back, Averill applauds the Cougars’ “’get it done’ attitude,” and it explains their success.”

“Some highlights during the season starts with our first game being down two goals with under two minutes to play against Edward Little and coming back for the win,” Averill said. “Against Winslow, Evan Stone broke the single-game record for goals for our school with 10. Then finishing the last week with two wins, knowing that we needed the wins to get us into the playoffs, so we have been in playoff-mode for awhile now.”

Averill credits several players for the Cougars’ playoff run, which seemed uncertain until the end of the season, when Mt. Blue turned in several clutch performances.

“I would like to mention that the play of Levi Hiltz and Adam Loewen have been phenomenal for our defense all season, but have picked it up even more here in the later part of the season,” Averill said. “They’re able to take on the best offensive players of the opposing teams and really frustrate them and take them off their game. 

“They play two totally different styles defensively, where Levi plays very physical and imposing, while Adam is a finesse player, who just throws great checks and keeps himself in good body position. 

“Offensively, we wouldn’t be where we are if it wasn’t for the duo at attack (Evan and Keegan Roberts) and midfielder Sam Smith. Smith puts a lot of pressure on defenses with slides, as he is athletically a difficult matchup. Evan and Keegan just have great chemistry with each and an understanding of the lacrosse game.”

“We are as healthy as we are going to be. It’s not the same guys that we started the season with.”

Smith knows that making the playoffs is a big draw for lacrosse and instills pride in the school and community.

“It’s important for the growth of the program,” Averill explained. “It’s the second time in four years that we have been in the playoffs, but we want it to become the norm. We have a lot of young kids playing varsity, so this will be a great experience to build on for the future years. 

“We started a feeder program when I took over as the coach here at Mt. Blue, and I truly believe that we are about to see the benefits of it. We have been playing catch-up to many other programs.”

And it appears the Cougars are all caught up — for the moment.


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