The scores have been startling. McAuley High’s field hockey team is not just losing, it’s losing big.

But behind the 0-6 record and 0-69 goal difference, second-year coach Elyse Tourangeau is seeing signs of improvement.

“Surprisingly it’s better than last year. Last year we struggled to get over the 50-yard line, and our girls can get the ball over the 50-yard line. That’s the big improvement right there,” Tourangeau said.

McAuley only has 14 players. When other teams were fine-tuning positions and rosters in preseason matches, McAuley had to use extras from Portland High to compete.

Most of the defenders are freshmen. Many of the 14 are first-year players.

What the Lions lack in numbers and experience, they’ve compensated for with a positive attitude.

“I thought I was going to have a tough time because last year the morale dropped pretty quickly, but this year they’re always looking for the little things that they’re improving on and talking about those things,” Tourangeau said.

The next key will be to increase participation.

So far that’s been a tough sell.

“Last year and even this year, we approached some of the girls that don’t play a fall sport and told them that they’d get in shape and get a lot of playing time,” Tourangeau said. “Unfortunately, McAuley people go there to get good grades or to play basketball.”

Tourangeau was asked if she felt her program would be helped by moving out of Class A.

“We could be in a different class and I don’t know why we aren’t to be honest with you,” she said. “I would definitely like to compete at a different class. It’s hard to lose all these games.”

 

MIKEY RICHARDS of Falmouth earned this week’s Player of the Week honors for doing what she’s been doing for three seasons: Scoring big goals in big games.

As the forward on the left side of the field, she has become adept at converting crossing balls into goals.

“Obviously it takes a lot of help from other players to get the ball down there to her, but she’s worked hard to get to that position,” Falmouth Coach Robin Haley said. “She has a lot of poise and we ask her to do quite a bit.”

Falmouth (6-1) will get a chance to avenge its lone loss when it hosts York (7-0) in a 5 p.m. contest Saturday. York beat the Yachtsmen 2-1 at home last Tuesday.

 

I SHOULD have known better than to try to explain a new field hockey rule, but fortunately official assigner Sue Weatherbie has set me straight. Last week I indicated a free hit drive (a hit with a backswing) could be elevated. Wrong. This is what Weatherbie kindly wrote in an email to clarify:

“You may use any stroke now on a free hit (scoop, flick, push, self-start or drive). The ball may rise to any height if no back swing is used and will be called based on danger either going up or coming down. If the hitter chooses to drive the ball, it must be intended to remain on the ground. Lifted balls on the free hit drive will be called back.”

 

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or at scraig@mainetoday.com

Twitter: SteveCCraig