The North Yarmouth Academy girls’ lacrosse team found extra motivation this spring, rallying together in the absence of Coach Julia Sterling, who has been out with an illness since May 15.

“If you know Julia, she’s a bit of a force of nature and brings a lot of really dynamic energy the kids can feed off,” said junior varsity coach Mike Gengras. “That absence is very palpable and unsettling. It was something the kids had to work through.”

The girls wrote Sterling’s initials JLS (Julia Littlefield Sterling) in black Sharpie marker on the back of their calves during a recent game, and have stayed in touch with Sterling, visiting her and exchanging notes.

Sterling, who is reportedly on the mend, was unavailable to comment.

In her absence the team has been led by assistant coaches Lynn Sullivan, Jenna McCabe and Gengras.

“She’s very much on the team’s minds and very much a presence,” said Gengras. “This is a team with a lot of pride. But it’s also a very young team in a lot of respects. So part of them coming together here has been about maturing and trusting each other.”

The Panthers lost to crosstown rival Yarmouth 11-6 on May 19, and held an hour-and-a-half meeting after the game.

Since then they have knocked off Cape Elizabeth, lacrosse power Waynflete a second time this season, and Greely to close out the regular season.

The Panthers(9-3) hope to make a run in the playoffs. That could include a marquee match against Yarmouth if both teams advance to the Eastern Class B final June 16.

 

A STATE TITLE is nothing new to members of the Scarborough girls’ lacrosse team, which is 12-0. Ellie Morin and Brittany Ross have won Class A titles in field hockey and basketball this school year.

Four more teammates were part of the field hockey title.

Coach Marica Wood hopes experience under pressure will translate to lacrosse.

“I think that they’re just prepared because the girls have done this before,” said Wood.

Top-seeded Scarborough has a bye until the Western Class A semifinals June 12.

 

THE REGULAR SEASON in girls’ lacrosse was scheduled to end Tuesday night, but multiple games were postponed due to thunderstorms. The boys’ regular season is supposed to close tonight. If all games are finished by Wednesday night, final Heal Point standings are expected Thursday. If any games are pushed another day, final standings are expected Friday.

 

BEST GAME today: The South Portland boys (10-1) are at Kennebunk (7-4) at 4 p.m. The Red Riots’ only loss came May 18 — 5-4 to Thornton Academy.

 Staff Writer Jenn Menendez can be contacted at 791-6426 or at: [email protected]