Oak Hill/Lisbon/Monmouth/St. Dom’s PJ Smith, top, jumps into the arms of teammate Adam Hinkley after Hinkley scored a goal Saturday afternoon during their game in Wales against the Houlton-based Northern Maine Moose. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

WALES — One-third of the way through the regular season, a year that began with unknowns is looking rosy to Joe Hinkley.

Hinkley, head coach of the Oak Hill boys lacrosse co-op, entered the 2023 season with plenty of question marks after his team graduated a large senior class. A new group of players have filled the voids for the Raiders, who have started 4-0 to pick up right where they left off a season ago.

“We definitely did lose some good players from last year, but we’ve really been able to keep moving right along,” Hinkley said. “People don’t really know what to expect from us right now, but the kids we have are working hard and have really stepped it up for us.”

Oak Hill has made deep runs in recent seasons, finishing as Class C runner-up in 2021 and reaching the semifinals last year. Led by Tiger Hopkins, the No. 3 scorer in Maine boys lacrosse history, as well as attackers Travis Caron and DeAndre Daniels, the Raiders averaged more than 13 goals per game.

Although Oak Hill’s scoring has dipped to 11 goals per game over its four games, the Raiders have a consistent scorer in Adam Hinkley, who netted six goals in the team’s season-opening win over Houlton. The real story, though, has been the defense, which has conceded just 11 goals thus far.

“It definitely starts with Nic Michaud, our goalie,” Joe Hinkley said of his team’s early prowess on the defensive end. “He’s been really phenomenal for us all year. His confidence is way up right now, and he’s been able to keep control of our defense back there.”


Oak Hill, which partnered with Monmouth Academy and Lisbon last year, added St. Dominic Academy to its cooperative partnership this season. That’s also provided a boost to the team’s defense with Luke Davidson solidifying a place in the Raiders’ starting lineup.

“Luke’s really stepped it up for as after coming over from St. Dom’s, and Colton (Davis) and Alex (Hinkley) have been big for us, too,” Hinkley said. “We’re going with the guys we’ve got, and so far, we’ve done a good job of making the best of it.”


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Speaking of local 4-0 teams, a Mt. Blue girls squad that was brand-new to varsity lacrosse just two years ago is continuing a rapid progression.


It’s a wondrous start for a program looking to build off a 2022 season that, given the circumstances, was nothing short of remarkable. The Cougars went 9-5 in just their second season of play last year, a campaign in which they earned their first-ever playoff win with an 8-6 prelim victory over Lawrence.

“I’m really happy with how we’ve looked so far,” said co-coach Kat Zachary. “Last year, we really ended our season on a solid note, even though we got knocked out by Greely (after beating Lawrence). We came in with a solid group of returners who have been there now and had that success, and they’re showing it.”

Mt. Blue has been consistent defensively with Callie Towle anchoring the back line and strong in the midfield with Emma Dunn’s versatility and speed. Chloe Roberts, who combined for 13 goals in the Cougars’ first two games alone, has powered an offense that’s found the net 56 times.

Then, there’s a player whose praises Zachary hasn’t been shy to sing from the rooftops: Alissa Butterfield. After picking up lacrosse for the first time a year ago, the junior midfielder has made immense improvements to become an essential piece of Mt. Blue’s midfield puzzle.

“I’ve never seen someone pick up a sport, especially a sport that is mechanically sometimes difficult, and just run with it like she has,” Zachary said. “She’s a pillar for us in terms of being able to play up top and also providing that speed in the midfield, which has been awesome.”

The going will get tougher in the coming weeks for Mt. Blue as it takes on a schedule that includes Lincoln Academy, Messalonskee and Mt. Ararat. It’s a slate that will test the Cougars’ mental fortitude, something Zachary thinks her team has now built in its third year as a program.


“I think we’re digging deep into our mentality of what it takes to be a winning team,” Zachary said. “We love it when somebody doesn’t take us seriously or thinks they don’t have to worry about us. It’s something we use to our advantage.”


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Messalonskee goalie Shea Cassani (0) makes a save against Brunswick’s Cecelia Slocum (1) in the first quarter of a girls lacrosse game Friday in Oakland. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Boys or girls, the Messalonskee Eagles have provided stern tests for opposing teams for years.

Both Messalonskee squads are no different this season — but over the next two weeks, the Eagles, too, will be tested as they take on some of the state’s elite.


At 3-1, the Messalonskee boys are in search of their first-ever state title game berth after coming up a game short of a Class B final appearance a year ago. With 62 goals scored in four games, the Eagles’ vaunted attack has been everything opponents feared early in the year.

Messalonskee’s Tatum Doucette, right, takes the ball downfield against Gardiner defender Nate Luiz during Wednesday’s lacrosse game at Messalonskee High School in Oakland. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

Now comes the tough part for Messalonskee, which, after facing Cony on Monday, is set to host Cape Elizabeth on Thursday. Fresh off back-to-back Class A state championships, the 5-0 Capers boast wins over South Portland, Falmouth and Yarmouth, three of the state’s top teams.

It won’t get any easier for the Messalonskee boys Saturday morning against Yarmouth. The Clippers (3-1), who were Class B runners-up a year ago, have been solid again this season and avenged their state title game loss to Brunswick this past Saturday by defeating the Dragons 16-6.

On the girls side, Messalonskee (4-2) will follow a battle with Maranacook/Winthrop on Wednesday with a showdown against Greely on Saturday in Cumberland. The reigning Class B state champion Rangers are 5-1 with their only loss coming to a Kennebunk team that just won a state-record 37th straight game.

The Messalonskee girls will then face unbeaten Mt. Blue on May 11 before taking on Brunswick on May 13. The Dragons, who upset the Eagles in last year’s state quarterfinals, also beat Messalonskee 12-6 on April 21.

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