The University of Southern Maine hasn’t had much success in men’s lacrosse. Over the program’s 16 years, the Huskies have had one winning season, in 2009.

So it’s understandable that the Huskies are quite excited by their 4-1 start this season. They won their first four games before losing to Mount Ida College 17-12 on Wednesday.

“Yeah, we’re feeling pretty good so far,” said sophomore attack Nate DelGiudice, from Oakland (Messalonskee High). We’ve had a good start. We got knocked down a peg (Wednesday). But we know we can play better. So we have to get back to work and focus on the next game. Saturday (at the University of New England) should be a big game for us to get back on track.”

Fifth-year head coach Sam Lane said the good start is a result of his players’ dedication.

“We’re seeing a lot more continuity with the team now,” he said. “The coaching staff has been the same over the last three seasons as we’ve been building. And if you look at our roster, we’ve got a core group of guys. We’re starting to build some chemistry and the players are very invested in the program. They put the work in during the off-season.”

DelGiudice, who was named the Little East Conference player of the week, leads the Huskies with 17 goals and seven assists and has collected 20 ground balls with five caused turnovers. Interestingly, he came to USM to play ice hockey as a goalie. After playing both sports as a freshman – he had 10 goals and five assists in lacrosse – he concentrated on just lacrosse this year.

“I had played (lacrosse) in high school,” said DelGuidice. “I just figured I’d come out for the team. It was a pretty good decision.”

Junior attack Keegan Smith has six goals and a team-high 12 assists. Senior Austin Watts of Westbrook is third in scoring with 12 goals and four assists.

But this team has a nice blend of experience and youth. And the Huskies are getting contributions from all positions.

“We tell the guys, given where the program is coming from, a couple of down seasons, that everyone is contributing from Day One,” said Lane. “We don’t have the mindset of, ‘Wait your turn.’ We tell them it’s the guys who contribute the most who are going to play the most. We’re fortunate some of the younger guys have stepped up.”

Freshman Paul Leonardo is getting plenty of playing time and has scored seven goals. Freshman midfielder Josh Murphy, the LEC rookie of the week this week, has won 60 of 111 faceoffs and leads the Huskies with 34 ground balls.

Sophomores John Bossi (3-1, 7.16 goals-against average, 24 saves) and Zack Bessette (1-0, 7.59, 15 saves) share the goaltending duties.

“Some of (the success) is creating a culture,” said Lane. “The other part is that everyone on the roster, from the last player to the first, can all play. We have much more trust this season.”

“Everyone is buying into the system,” said DelGiudice. “We’re working harder than in the past in practice. Guys are watching film, getting their studying in. We’re pulling it all together.”

And they hope to keep it going. Lane noted that the most difficult part of the schedule – the league portion – is yet to come.

“We’re just trying to keep the guys focused throughout the early games to get prepared for the conference,” he said. “That’s what we’re trying to do.”

BASKETBALL

Bentley University senior Tyler McFarland of Rockport (Camden Hills) finished his career as the school’s all-time leading scorer, with 2,118 points. He is also first on the school’s lists for field goals (785) and average minutes played (34.8). McFarland was selected to the NABC Division II 16-member All-America team on Tuesday, as well as the NABC All-East first team.

He averaged 22.6 points and 7.5 rebounds this year to lead the Falcons in both categories. McFarland teamed with Keegan Hyland of South Portland and Alex Furness of Wells for 4,565 career points. Hyland, who scored 1,373 points in his career (in just 77 games), was named to the NABC All-East second team.

n Bentley freshman forward Victoria Lux of Arundel (Thornton Academy) had a strong first season for the Falcons, who advanced to the NCAA Division II women’s national semifinals before losing to Lubbock Christian University 67-57 on Wednesday. Lux started all 35 games for Bentley and averaged 6.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists while playing 20.7 minutes per game. She had a particularly strong game in Bentley’s 53-52 win over Virginia Union in the Elite Eight, scoring nine points with 11 rebounds and five assists.

GOLF

Bentley senior Malcolm Oliver of Damariscotta (Lincoln Academy) opened the spring season with a fourth-place finish (72-76-148) at the Barton Invitational in Wilson, North Carolina, then followed that with a 77-73-150 eighth-place finish in the Bear Trap Dunes Invitational in Ocean View, Delaware.

LACROSSE

St. Joseph’s College sophomore attack Elyse Caiazzo of Scarborough (Cheverus) was named the Great Northeast Athletic Conference women’s player of the week for the second time this season. Caiazzo had 11 goals and one assist in a pair of victories for the Monks. She leads the conference in goals (22), points (26), shots on goal (37) and ground balls (24) through five games.

 St. Joseph’s College sophomore Connor Trainor of Franklin, Massachusetts, was named the GNAC men’s goalkeeper of the week. Trainor had a 7.50 goals-against average with a 63.4 save percentage in two games for the Monks. He had a career-high 18 saves in a 10-3 loss to UNE.

 Bowdoin College sophomore attack Brett Kujala was named the New England Small College Athletic Conference men’s player of the week. Kujala scored eight goals, including a career-high six in a 15-10 win over Hamilton, in two games.

SOFTBALL

University of New England senior center fielder Amanda Vallante of Dracut, Massachusetts, was named the Commonwealth Coast Conference player of the week. She went 10 for 17 (.588) in six games with a double and eight RBI. She also scored six runs, stole a base and handled 11 defensive chances perfectly.

 UNE freshman Avery Alberghini of Middlesex, Vermont, was named the CCC rookie of the week. She scored 10 runs in the Nor’easters’ six games in Florida last week. She went 7 for 10 at the plate with two stolen bases.

 Bentley junior Katelyn Lebreux of Biddeford is starting at third base for the 4-9 Falcons and has made just two errors in 27 chances in 12 games this season.

 Western New England University senior first baseman Heather Fecteau of Biddeford is batting .500 after 10 games. She has scored eight runs and driven in three while hitting three doubles. She has not committed an error in 90 chances. Fecteau was the CCC player of the week two weeks ago.

SWIMMING AND DIVING

Bentley senior Nicola Mancini of Falmouth earned her fourth All-America award by finishing sixth in the 3-meter dive at the NCAA Division II championships with a school-record 471.30 points. Her best dive was an inward two-and-a-half somersault in tuck position that earned her 54.00 points. Mancini also finished 22nd in the 1-meter dive. Because she sat out her junior year with an injury, Mancini is expected to return next winter for a final season of eligibility.

TRACK AND FIELD

University of Rochester senior Patrick Rice of Windham recently finished fourth in the heptathlon during the NCAA Division III national championships to earn All-America honors. Rice scored 4,931 points in the seven events that comprise the pentathlon – 60-meter dash, long jump, shot put, high jump, 60-meter hurdles, pole vault and 1,000-meter run. He made up six places in the second day of the event, taking first in the pole vault (14 feet, 71/4 inches) and second in the 1,000 (2:48.77). He had placed sixth in the 60 hurdles (8.69 seconds) earlier that day. In all he earned 2,340 points in the three second-day events.