Bonny Eagle Coach Caterina Riitano said she felt her team would be improved this year.
Through two weeks it looks like she was right.
Led by top scorer and two-year captain Cassidy Merrill and senior captain and sweeper Courtney Ross, the Scots have gotten off to a 3-0-1 start.
That matches their win total from a year ago when they went 3-9-2 after a 2-10-2 record in 2011.
Beating Cheverus, 2-1, in overtime on a Merrill goal exceeds anything this group of players has done.
“Beating Cheverus was a big thing for us,” Riitano said. “Oh my goodness, they were so excited. Cheverus has always been one of those teams that have been right up there with Scarborough. To go from being a team with a losing record to beating a team like that, it really gave us a confidence booster. Now it’s more of an attitude of, ‘Hey we can compete with these teams.’ “
Merrill, the center midfielder, has been getting offensive support from converted midfielder Alexis Lambert and Leah Carter. Sophomore Ashlyn Wintle, with a year’s experience at the varsity level, is a stronger, more confident goalie.
Riitano said attitude, communication and trust in each other have been the keys to the improvement. She said the work against Cheverus of the right side of her alignment — wing forward Charley Kennedy, midfielder Tori Cady and back Megan McIntosh — was a great example of the improvement.
“They were just working so well together. They were just clicking and using passes and teammates and communicating,” Riitano said.
Bonny Eagle was at Windham on Monday and then faces two of the Press Herald’s Top Five area teams when it hosts Marshwood on Wednesday and is at Massabesic on Friday.
The Scots had to settle on Friday when they were tied in a heavy rainstorm by winless Deering (which had played competitively in three losses).
Riitano said her team was disappointed with the tie.
That’s another sign of improvement.
YORK COACH Barb Marois said she entered the preseason knowing “defense would have to be a focus,” due to graduation losses that included four-year keeper Amanda Kasbohm.
So far it looks like the Wildcat D, led by senior captain Kathleen Cronin, has learned its lessons well. York has a 15-0 scoring edge through three games.
That York would again be solid at the back end is hardly a surprise. Marois, a four-time U.S. Olympic Committee Field Hockey Player of the Year, played defense on two Olympic teams (1988 and 1996).
Most impressive was keeping Lake Region sniper Lucy Fowler (5 goals) and her running mate Destiny Durant (3 goals) off the board in a 1-0 win at Naples after York’s Taylor Simpson scored in the first minute.
THIS YEAR there are, by rule, two chairs astride the scorer’s table at field hockey games. Call them what you want — timeout chairs, penalty chairs or folding sin bins — their purpose is for players to have a seat if they have to exit the field due to a penalty.
There have always been timed player-removal penalties that require a team to play short-handed but you could go seasons without seeing such an infraction.
This year there is likely to be quite a few more due to an increased emphasis on certain calls.
Sue Weatherbie is the assigner of officials for Western Maine, “from Morse to Marshwood,” as she put it and has officiated for 44 years. She said to expect more green cards to be given out for substitution, attire and sportsmanship infractions. Another emphasis area will be delay of game when defenders have to be told to give an offensive player taking a free hit enough space. On the second warning the player will get a two-minute penalty.
Another important rule change involves the free hit. Now there is no such thing as an illegal free hit, though one can still be called dangerous based on an official’s judgment. That means players can hit an “elevated drive” on a free hit, Weatherbie said. Previously such a shot would have been whistled even if it went to an open area and posed no danger.
Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or at: