With the girls’ lacrosse season set to begin, the first question for many of Maine’s top teams is who’ll be their last line of defense.
New goalies will be in position at Kennebunk, Marshwood and Waynflete.
Scarborough and Yarmouth will spend the early games deciding between a pair of prospective netminders. Coincidentally, those teams face each other Saturday in their season opener.
None of the coaches are losing sleep over it, but there’s no denying the peace of mind that a proven goalie can bring.
“It’s my eighth year as a coach and I’ve had two goalies,” Marshwood’s Bernie Marvin said. “Both came as freshmen. There’s not an understudy kind of a thing. We dress one goalie. I’m kind of asking for it, I guess.”
To replace Meghan Lewis, now starring at Wheelock College in Boston, Marvin is turning to junior Emily Kahler, a junior-varsity player a year ago.
“She’s a good athlete. It’s just that there’s a lot of responsibility for a goalie,” Marvin said. “They have to be very vocal. They have to run the defense. And it’s tough sometimes for someone to step in there and tell kids who have been playing for four years what to do.”
Yarmouth Coach Dorothy Holt will field a young team overall. The goalie audition is just one more challenge, but she’s upbeat about it.
“Just the speed of the ball, there’s a lot more finesse on shots. It’s a big adjustment,” Holt said. “But the energy that the underclassmen bring to the program is incredible.”
Kennebunk is moving down to Class B this season, gearing up for fierce competition. Coach Annie Baker is turning her net over to sophomore Della Kudas, and said she has no concerns.
Kudas has been playing the position for a long time.
That’s a sharp contrast to the situation at Waynflete. Coach Cathie Connors, anticipating the need for a new goalie last spring, approached Charlotte Majcerik, then a freshman attacker on the junior varsity. Connors liked her athleticism and mental toughness.
“She doesn’t get down on herself and she doesn’t get distracted,” Connors said.
Majcerik was happy to help out the program. So she settled into the crease for the first time in her life when practice began this spring, a key piece of a revamped defense for the two-time defending Class B champion Flyers.
Her senior teammates have been impressed.
“Her steps to the ball are good. She’s not scared of the ball at all, which is what you need. She’s good high and low, which is really impressive,” said Leigh Fernandez, who is responsible for warming Majcerik up each day. “She’ll definitely surprise some people.”
Majcerik, one of eight new varsity players for Waynflete, said she has felt embraced by her team and coach. The only pressure she feels, she said, is what she puts on herself.
“Because I used to play field, I’m looking around and trying to anticipate what was going to happen, when you just need to focus on the ball, block everything out,” she said.
“My greatest difficulty is when I do miss a shot and it does go in, I need to forget about it, and I tend to dwell on that.”
To bolster a young defensive corps, senior midfielders Fernandez, Sofia Canning and Ella Millard figure to cover a lot of ground for the Flyers, especially in the early going. They are eager for the challenge, even though they know another unbeaten season is unlikely.
“We’re going to lose games and we’re going to have hard lessons. We’re all prepared for that,” Millard said. “We realize it’s not going to be perfect or necessarily always beautiful, but we’ll hopefully get the result we want.”
Canning admitted to a little offseason concern about who would assume the goaltending duties.
“But I knew Cathie would pull it together,” she said. “Somehow, we always pull something together.”
Mark Emmert can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: