It’s been both a great and a difficult start for the Lake Region field hockey team.

After Saturday’s 4-0 win against Poland, coming on the heels of a dramatic 1-0 overtime victory against highly regarded Falmouth on Thursday, the Lakers are 4-0.

They have accomplished the fast start despite an in-season coaching change.

Due to a significant increase in personal responsibilities, 20-year coach Dagny Leland stepped down after the season-opening 4-1 win against Yarmouth. Lisa Shane, the JV coach for five years, has taken over as the varsity coach.

“I knew things were building up and I was taking on more responsibilities,” Shane said Saturday night. “That came a little quick, when Dagny made (her) decision, but it was not a shock.”

Leland, a fourth-grade teacher at Stevens Brook Elementary in Bridgton, said the specifics of her decision were “personal.”

“I know the girls are in great shape and I truly believe in Lisa and Coach (Pauline) Webb,” Leland said. “It took a lot of guts to make this decision, but I believe it was the right one.”

The win at Falmouth — on field turf — showed Shane that an offseason of playing in the Deering League and a preseason emphasis on conditioning is paying off for the Lakers.

“We played all of our summer games on turf. That’s a component to our strong start,” Shane said. “Collectively, they’ve stepped up.”

Lucy Fowler, a junior who has seven goals, including the OT winner at Falmouth, is leading the charge, with strong contributions from seniors Kate Cutting (midfield), Kristina Morton (left halfback) and Katie Lepage (center midfielder).

Shane, a 1982 graduate of Lake Region, played on the 1980 state championship team and 1981 regional champion.

“We’ve always been up in the rankings, but we need to get back up on top,” Shane said.

TOPSY-TURVY CLASS B: Lake Region was originally to face Fryeburg Academy, another team off to a fast start, on Monday. Due to the death of a senior in the Lake Region school system, the game was postponed until Wednesday, Sept. 26.

In the preseason, Fryeburg Coach Dede Frost downplayed her team’s chances after a breakout 12-3 season. The Raiders aren’t under the radar now, with a 4-0 start including a win against defending Western Class B champ York for a third straight year.

At the opposite end, Greely had the look of a title contender with 14 seniors on its roster and was strongly considered for inclusion in the Press Herald’s preseason 10 Teams to Watch. The Rangers opened the season against Falmouth, Fryeburg, York and Class C power North Yarmouth Academy, and are 0-4.

LOOKING FOR a key early season showdown? Look no further than Thursday’s Cheverus at Massabesic game.

Both teams are 4-0 after convincing wins Friday and feature some of the most dynamic scorers in the SMAA.

Massabesic’s Jackie Guillemette has 11 goals, with at least two in each game. The Mustangs have outscored their opponents 21-2.

“I called her my little scavenger. Everything and anything that needs to be cleaned up, that’s what Jackie does,” Mustangs Coach Michelle Martin-Moore said.

Massabesic junior Alex Staples scored twice in Friday’s 6-0 thrashing of South Portland and has five goals and two assists.

“I called a timeout because I saw our focus slipping. I told them, for the last six minutes, this team is Cheverus, show me what you can do. In the next minute, Alex (Staples) went out and scored,” Martin-Moore said.

For Cheverus, Staci Swallow and Emily Rodrigue (a hat trick against Deering) are leading the way.

“The biggest thing I’m preaching is that I want multiple people scoring so other (teams) can’t focus on stopping just one or two players,” Cheverus Coach Amy McMullin said. “We haven’t had that yet, but Rodrigue and Swallow have definitely met expectations.”

Staff Writer Steve Craig can be contacted at 791-6413 or at: [email protected]