Charlie Fay knew he would have to make adjustments when he began playing lacrosse at Bates College. But he didn’t expect it to be in terms of winning.

A two-time All-American at Falmouth High, Fay went from contending for championships in every sport he played in high school (soccer, basketball and lacrosse) to winning just four games his freshman year at Bates.

It didn’t sit well with him or his teammates.

“Yeah it was weird,” he said. “It was a shock for me. It was gloomy, coming out of those games and losing. And a lot of them were close games.”

Two years later the Bobcats (7-1) are ranked seventh among NCAA Division III teams in the USILA coaches poll.

“I think last year we had a major culture change,” said Fay. “It started with the upperclassmen. We brought a different mentality into the season. My freshman year we were just trying to squeak out wins. We’d be close at the end and the other team would get a goal and we’d say, ‘We almost had them.’

“Last year we said, ‘That’s not OK anymore.’ We wanted to be the team that was finishing the game strong.”

And Fay, a junior midfielder, is among the leaders. He was a second-team All-American as a sophomore when he had 34 goals and six assists despite missing five games with an injury, and Bates went 11-6, advancing to the second round of the NCAA tournament. This year he is second on the team in scoring (22 goals, two assists) behind senior attack Jack Allard (22 goals, 13 assists).

Peter Lasagna, in his 16th year as Bates coach, said Fay has had a huge hand in the team’s success, even when he’s not scoring. Last Saturday, Bates defeated Williams 11-8 – the Bobcats’ first win over the Ephs in 10 years. Williams held Allard and Fay to one goal each.

“He was still part of our success last Saturday,” said Lasagna. “None of these guys are obsessed with their own points. It’s much more important to all of those guys, particular Charlie, that we win. Charlie can score three or four goals a game. He’s that good of a shooter and we’re going to create that many opportunities for him. … But he wants to win. He’s willing to step back and he realizes that if a lot of pressure is on him, it will open opportunities for other people.”

Fay said a big reason behind the Bobcats’ success is depth.

“We just have a very solid group,” he said. “We have all the pieces this year, great offense, great defense, faceoff guys, goalies. And the guys right behind the starters are pushing to get into the lineup.”

In fact, the Bobcats’ practices can be extremely competitive. Lasagna often breaks the team into groups pitting the first offense against the first defense.

“None of this (success) is very complicated. Why we had the season we had last year, why we are (as good) on the road (as)we are on this year, is because of the daily competition we have in practice. The difference between our best players and the next two, three or four is the tightest we have ever had here.”

Junior Kyle Weber (11 goals, six assists) teams with Fay to provide Bates with exceptional midfield play. Sophomore attack Max Breschi has 14 goals and five assists, and junior attack Andrew Melvin has 10 goals and nine assists. Junior attack Jake Walsh has 14 assists.

“We have options,” said Fay. “It might not be me and Jack scoring. We’re confident we have six guys who can score.”

But, Lasagna said, Fay’s influence cannot be underestimated, even in practice. “I often tell the kids, ‘Your influence is never neutral.’ Every moment, every player is having a positive or negative influence on his teammates,” he said. “Charlie’s influence is always positive because he cares about the game so much.”

Lasagna never could have predicted Fay’s college success, but he knew he had good bloodlines. Fay’s father, John Fay, was an All-American at New Hampshire and played for the U.S. national team in 1982. He learned his skills – especially his hard shot and stickhandling ability – at a young age.

Even with a national ranking, Fay and his teammates want more.

“Now that we’re here, this isn’t our ceiling,” he said. “We want to maximize our potential as a team.”

LACROSSE

St. Joseph’s College senior midfielder Kat Gadbois of Scarborough was named Great Northeast Athletic Conference women’s player of the week. Gadbois scored six goals and five assists while adding 11 ground balls, five draw controls and eight caused turnovers in two games for the Monks. During the week she became the school’s all-time leader in ground balls (238) and caused turnovers (108).

 Bowdoin College junior goalie Peter Mumford of Plymouth, New Hampshire, was named New England Small College Athletic Conference men’s player of the week. He had 29 saves and posted a .659 save percentage as the Polar Bears won two games to extend their winning streak to five to move into 14th place in the national poll.

 University of New England freshman midfielder Mitch Mullin of Cumberland (Greely) was named the Commonwealth Coast Conference men’s rookie of the week. He scored three goals (on three shots) and one assist in a victory over USM.

UNE freshman midfielder Korinne Bohunsky of Eliot (Marshwood) was named CCC women’s rookie of the week. She scored four goals and collected five ground balls in a win over USM.

 Sophomore attack Abby McInerney of Cape Elizabeth has six goals and three assists for Trinity, which is 6-2. Sophomore attack Grace O’Donnell of Yarmouth has two goals in four games for the Bantams.

SOFTBALL

University of Southern Maine senior shortstop Mary Caron of Lewiston was named Little East Conference player of the week. Caron batted .444 to help USM go 6-2 with two doubles, a triple and a home run. She drove in nine runs and scored eight. She also had 11 assists and 23 putouts without an error.

TENNIS

University of Southern Maine senior Tyler Adams of Buxton (Bonny Eagle) was named Little East Conference men’s player of the week. Adams opened the season with a 6-1, 6-2 win at No.1 singles and an 8-2 win at No.1 doubles (along with Kyle Curley of Gorham).