The Messalonskee boys lacrosse team has the pieces in place, at least from an offensive standpoint, for another state title push in 2023.

The Eagles finished 13-2 last season, and finished just short of a Class B title game appearance, falling 14-11 to Brunswick in the semifinal round.

While Messalonskee graduated some key players, including Brennan Wade, Brady Doucette and Rhys Bridges, the Eagles return several players, including Bryce Crowell, Will Durkee and Walter Fegel, just to name a few.

“They’re learning something every day in (preseason) practice,” Messalonskee head coach Tom Sheridan said. “That’s our whole mission.”

Crowell, a senior, had a success rate of more than 70 percent on face-offs for the Eagles last season.

“He’s one of the best face-off men in the state,” Sheridan said. “He’s also a terrific offensive and defensive player. He’s been a solid player for us for three years.”


Durkee and Fegel, both seniors, will be Messalonskee’s top players on the attack. Each one scored more than 40 goals for the Eagles last season.

“Nobody puts as much pressure on the defense on the ride than (Fegel) does,” Sheridan said. “Walter is not very tall, but he comes with lots of intensity and is pretty fast. He’s all heart, all day long.”


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Maranacook’s Mary Hatt works on serving during a March 30 practice at A-COPI Tennis & Health Club in Augusta. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

After a successful spring last year, the Maranacook girls tennis team is in a bit of a rebuild.


“I’ll be a little weaker than I was in the past, I lost six seniors,” Maranacook head coach Louis Gingras said. “It’s definitely a rebuilding year for us. But from what I’ve seen so far, we’re in pretty good shape. I have a couple of freshmen that hit with us last summer and the fall, so they have some experience. A couple have played indoor tennis this winter, which is a big plus.”

It won’t have to be a total rebuild for the Black Bears, who finished 13-2 last year, falling 3-2 to Waynflete in the Class C South final. To start, Maranacook returns its top singles player in sophomore Claire Dwyer, who was among the top 32 individual players in the state last year.

“I have my top player returning,” Gingras said. “She’s solid. My No. 3 player, Mary Hatt is back. They’ll probably end up being (No.’s) 1 and 2 to start out. I have seven or eight sophomores and a couple of juniors that have some experience.”

Among the returners for Maranacook is junior Cassidy McCormack, who has experience in doubles but could potentially be the Black Bears’ No. 3 singles player.


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Maranacook players yell while trying to spark a rally during a May 24, 2022 game against Mount View in Thorndike. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

The girls tennis team isn’t the only one in Readfield trying to get its team in order before the start of the season.

A year after making the Class C South final, the Maranacook baseball team is also trying to plug holes in its lineup, particularly on the mound.

“We lost some good pitching from last year, we had three senior starters,” Maranacook head coach Eric Brown said. “Our pitching is young and a little inexperienced. We’re working on that, hopefully by midseason we’re clicking on the pitching front. We’ve got 13 guys, so we have low numbers and we’ll see how that plays out. Academics and eligibility is always a factor. Offensively, we look pretty decent. On the defensive side, we could use some work. We’ll see how that works out.”

The Black Bears, who finished 14-6 and reached the regional final as a No. 6 seed, still return talent with Luke McLaughlin, Jake McLaughlin, Kody Goucher and Travis Lemelin, all of whom were key cogs offensively and in the field in their run through the playoffs last season. Of that group, Jake McLaughlin has experience on the mound for Maranacook.

“We’ve got a good little core of players,” Brown said. “We’ll see how it plays out.”



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Cony’s Azabell Assaf, left, is covered by Mt. Ararat’s Brooklyne Choate (16) during a girls lacrosse play day Saturday at Morse High School in Bath. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal


Cony girls lacrosse coach Gretchen Livingston has always taken pride in a strong defensive unit with her teams.

The defense this season will be led by veteran goaltender Madison Chavarie.

“She’s the anchor of our defense,” Livingston said.

The Rams finished 11-3 last season and fell to Greely in the Class B semifinals. Cony returns seven starters, with a good defensive core.


“The defense is solid with our senior goalie and our two senior defenders, Jasmine Mills and Ashley Tobias,” Livingston said.

Cony has already hit the field for its preseason, hitting the turf for a play day at Morse High School in Bath on Saturday.


Staff writer Mike Mandell contributed to this story.

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