FALMOUTH – Lined up before practice last week, players on the Falmouth girls’ lacrosse team were throwing the ball against the gymnasium wall.

A hundred tosses from the right. A hundred tosses from the left. Next the players headed to the field for practice, working on timing, shooting and strategy.

It is the start of the 2010 girls’ lacrosse season, and nothing is really out of the ordinary — except the belief that this program may be turning the corner to becoming a legitimate contender.

“I think we’ve just started to prove it to ourselves the last few years,” said senior Sarah Girouard. “I think we were always labeled as underdogs and took it to heart. We’ve gotten more confident and it’s showing this year.”

At a recent preseason round robin of 20-minute scrimmages — Falmouth was the team that impressed coaches from the traditionally strong programs.

Said Waynflete Coach Cathie Connors: “Falmouth looks extremely strong. They were standing out to me.”

Said Yarmouth Coach Dorothy Holt: “I would not count out Falmouth. They have some really good athletes.”

Said North Yarmouth Academy Coach Julia Sterling: “Falmouth has come a long way. They will be tough.”

The spring season began last week, and all the perennial powers appear strong again: Waynflete, Brunswick, North Yarmouth Academy, Yarmouth, Scarborough and Kennebunk.

“When you hear about girls’ lacrosse, Falmouth isn’t usually put in that top group,” said Girouard. “We definitely have something to prove.”

The program has existed for 13 seasons, but the players say only in the last few years has it been among their priorities.

“Lacrosse is our main focus,” said senior Emma Sipperly. “We were competitive before, but now I think teams have to worry (about us) a bit.”

Said freshman Alex Bernier: “Years before, we’ve just been average. This year I feel like we have a chance.”

Much of that revolves around building the program and building confidence, said Coach Robin Haley.

“For us, it’s really been about gaining some confidence that, yeah, you can compete,” she said. “I would say this year we do really have a pretty athletic team.

“The chemistry is really good right now and I think things are attainable for them. I don’t know as though they have been over the years. Each year we get closer.”

Haley is in her eighth year at Falmouth and has seen a significant upgrade in the ability level of freshmen.

“I think the youth program here has really started to develop,” said Haley. “They’ve really started to think of lacrosse as something that’s competitive here.”

Falmouth lost to Waynflete in the Class B quarterfinals last year. This year, the Yachtsmen are hoping to make a deeper playoff run.

“The lacrosse culture at Falmouth is turning the corner,” said Haley. “It’s becoming a sport that is recognized and discussed. There’s a buzz in the air about it.”

 

Staff Writer Jenn Menendez can be contacted at 791-6426 or at:

[email protected]