From the moment Lauren Sawyer first picked up a lacrosse stick, she knew she found her athletic calling. “I just felt comfortable from the minute I tried it,” she said, of her freshman year at Westbrook High.
Eight years later, it’s obvious that Sawyer was meant to play lacrosse. A senior at Keene (N.H.) State, she will lead the second-ranked Owls into the Little East Conference semifinals today against the University of Southern Maine. Sawyer is the school’s all-time leading scorer, with 102 goals and a record 193 assists, giving her a total of 295 points.
This year she has 21 goals and 41 assists for the Owls, who were upset by USM in the semifinals a year ago when Keene was seeded first.
“I think we’re more ready this year,” said Sawyer. “Last year we were the No. 1 host and, I’m not saying we were cocky, but I don’t think we were ready for the game.”
Sawyer is seemingly always ready to play lacrosse. She was a point guard in basketball and says that has helped develop her playmaking ability in lacrosse.
“I really don’t know how I do it,” she said. “But I kind of see everything a play ahead, like I did in basketball. I see stuff instantly. I feel like I have an advantage because of that.”
Katie Arsenault, the coach of the Owls, said Sawyer’s talent is natural, but that a lot of hard work has gone into honing it.
“She has the eye to see the whole game, not just the back of the net,” said Arsenault. “She sees these passes and these seams. she’ll be the first to tell you she has great teammates who can catch the ball. But she works hard.
“She’s the type of player who, even if she has a seven-point game and she has four turnovers, she’s upset at that. So she works to correct that.”
Arsenault has worked hard to get Sawyer to be a little more selfish this year. Sawyer has a great shot but has often passed it up to find an open teammate.
“I think it’s more of a confidence thing for her,” said Arsenault. “Sometimes if she missed the net in the past, it would take a whole game for her to get the shot off again.”
Arsenault will graduate in May with a degree in psychology and will then pursue a career to keep her involved in lacrosse. She plans on coming to Maine to get her teaching degree and become a coach and teacher. Eventually she would like to be an athletic director.
“I’m never going to be without lacrosse,” she said.
Colorado School of Mines interim softball coach Kristie Hawkins of Portland (Deering) was named Coach of the Year in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. She had been an assistant with the Orediggers for two years before being named interim head coach last spring. The Orediggers, picked fifth in the preseason, gained a share of the league title for only the second time in school history with a 28-11 mark. Hawkins, who was once an assistant at Thornton Academy in Saco, played softball at the University of Maine.
Clark University senior pitcher Phillip Bertocci of Thomaston (Georges Valley) recently was named New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Week after he threw a one-hit shutout to beat MIT, 1-0. Bertocci finished 3-1 for the 16-17 Cougars, making just two starts while throwing most of the year out of the bullpen. He had a 1.64 ERA and held opposing batters to a .172 average.
* Sophomore outfielder Jack Heary and sophomore pitcher/infielder Taylor Candage, both of Portland (Deering), have helped theUniversity of New Haven to a 25-15 record. Heary is batting .284 with 18 runs, 17 RBI and 17 stolen bases. Candage is 2-0 with a 1.81 ERA. He has 36 strikeouts and 14 walks in 442/3 innings pitched.
Freshman Katie Paige of Brunswick (North Yarmouth Academy) and junior Tess Wiggins of Cape Elizabeth are members of the William Smith varsity eight crew that recently won the Liberty League championship. William Smith, ranked fifth in the country, beat No. 9 St. Lawrence on the Saints’ home course.
Skidmore College sophomore attack Mike Holden of Cape Elizabeth was named the Liberty League Co-Offensive Player of the Week for the second consecutive week and fifth time this season after scoring 10 goals in two games. Holden leads the nationally fourth-ranked Thoroughbreds with 36 goals and three assists. Skidmore (11-3) won the Liberty League regular-season title. Senior midfielder Jon Bubier of Yarmouth is also on the Skidmore roster. He has one goal and one assist.
* Hobart junior attack Sam Miller of Yarmouth received ECAC second-team honors after leading 5-9 Hobart with 26 goals and 30 points. Miller, who scored six hat tricks during the season, has scored in 24 consecutive games.
Plymouth (N.H.) State University senior catcher/third baseman Kortney Nedeau of Kennebunk recently became the team’s all-time home run leader when she hit the 21st of her career. Nedeau is batting .266 for the 17-20 Panthers with five home runs and 29 RBI.
* Bentley University junior catcher Megan Blier of Wells had a team-high three home runs this year.
* Senior first baseman Olivia Ryan of Gray (Gray-New Gloucester) was selected as an all-Southern College Athletic Conference honorable mention for the second consecutive year from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn. Ryan batted .365 for Rhodes with four home runs, 27 RBI, 19 runs and a team-high 19 walks. She made just two errors, finishing her career with just seven errors in 574 chances.
Wheaton College junior Neall Oliver of Portland (Deering) was named NEWMAC Singles Player of the Week for the third time this season.
* Junior Nate Gove of Scarborough received an honorable mention selection from the Commonwealth Coast Conference in doubles play.
TRACK AND FIELD
Eastern Kentucky University senior Kat Pagano of Hollis (Bonny Eagle) was recently honored as a recipient of the Athletic Director’s Leadership Award. The award is given to a student-athlete who excels in all areas, but especially leadership.
* Merrimack College junior Kayla Morong of Topsham (Mt. Ararat) recently qualified for the Northeast-10 championships in the 1,500 meters when she ran a 5:24.33 at the Solomon Invitational.
* Bentley junior Paige Piper of Minot (Poland) was third in the javelin (90 feet, 3 inches) in the recent Tufts Spring Invitational. Sophomore Craig Robinson of Scarborough was third in the 1,500 (4:10.26) at the same event. Robinson later had a second-place finish in the 5,000 (15:25.55) at the Stonehill Invitational.
* Union College junior Kyle Bucklin of Brunswick took first in the long jump (6.86 meters) in the recent Capitol District Classic. He was also a member of the winning 4-by-400 relay team.
Junior midfielder Mollie Fitzpatrick and freshman midfielder Grace Fitzpatrick, sisters from Falmouth (Cheverus) helped Norwich University win the Great Northeast Athletic Conference championship with a 12-8 win over Lasell. Grace Fitzpatrick had five goals in the game and was named tournament MVP. Grace Fitzpatrick leads the 10-2 Cadets with 40 goals and is second with 46 points. She also had 53 ground balls, 32 draw controls and 33 caused turnovers. Mollie Fitzpatrick has 11 goals and six assists, along with 28 ground balls and 15 draw controls.
* Three local players helped third-ranked Hamilton College to a 15-1 record and its fourth Liberty League regular-season title in five years. Junior midfielder Ashley Allen of South Portland (Waynflete) scored 14 goals and five assists with 16 ground balls and 10 draw controls. Junior midfielder Kate Otley of Cumberland (Greely) had 16 goals, 27 ground balls and 16 draw controls. Sophomore midfielder Mariah Monks of Cape Elizabeth (Waynflete) had four goals and three assists with four ground balls and eight draw controls.
* Senior attack Molly Sowles of Yarmouth (Greely) was named the Endicott College female athlete of the week after scoring four goals and four assists in three games.
Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at: