D.J. Nicholas, one of the state’s top young soccer players, is turning into a solid last line of defense for the North Yarmouth Academy boys’ lacrosse team.

Nicholas, a sophomore who led the soccer team in scoring the past two seasons, has a 7.55 goals-against average in his first season as a lacrosse goalie.

“Our varsity goalie left and our (junior varsity) goalie switched to outdoor track and field, so we had no goalies from last year,” Coach Peter Gerrity said. “We were hoping somebody in the program would step up pretty quick, and during the winter he decided he’d give it a try.”

Last spring, when the Panthers captured their second consecutive Eastern Class B title, Nicholas played midfield.

“He was a wing guy on the faceoffs,” said Gerrity, in his first full season as coach. “He is really, really fast.”

That speed has enabled Nicholas to make a rapid transition from field player to a goalkeeper.

“Being able to anticipate the play probably helps, and he’s just a remarkably quick athlete,” Gerrity said. “He’s a super athletic anyway, and his quickness is probably better than anyone on our team.”

During the winter, Nicholas spent some training sessions with Chris Richards, goalie coach for the men’s lacrosse team at the University of New England in Biddeford.

“He’s turning into a goalie, which is extremely helpful,” Gerrity said.

The Panthers, in a race with Gardiner and Yarmouth for the top seeding in the regional tournament, will complete the regular season Wednesday at home against Falmouth.

HEBRON ACADEMY goalie Patrick Shelley is one of the two players from the Northern New England Lacrosse League to be named a U.S. Lacrosse All-American.

Shelley, who is from Poland, earned the distinction after leading the Huskies to a 9-5 record and the MAISAD championship.

In 14 games, Shelley, who intends to play at Endicott College next spring, compiled a 5.87 goals-against average while stopping 63 percent of the 237 shots he faced during the season.

Ryder Garnsey, a junior attackman from Brewster Academy who has verbally committed to Notre Dame, was the other All-American from the NNELL.

“The best players in the NNELL are without a doubt some of the best players in New England, and Pat Shelley deserves to be among them,” said Hebron Coach Kit Smith, a former high school All-American from Brunswick.

PLAY IN the girls’ lacrosse game between Waynflete and Greely that began 20 days ago will resume at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday at Cumberland.

Because of heavy rain, play was suspended 12:51 into the first half May 9 with visiting Waynflete clinging to a 3-1 lead over the Rangers.

“With proms, and AP testing and PSAT testing, it was difficult to reschedule this game,” Greely Athletic Director David Shapiro said.

Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:

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