April 10, 2013

College connections: High school rivals join forces to lead a lacrosse resurgence

By Steve Craig scraig@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Abby Capobianco had just taken over as head coach of Assumption College’s moribund women’s lacrosse program and Camille Auger of Kennebunk was targeted as her first key recruit.

When Auger came to the Worcester, Mass., campus for her official visit, her host was former Scarborough star Lindsay Hagerman. The two didn’t know each other but their teams had gone head-to-head in heated Western Class A playoff games.

“I wondered if it would be a good idea considering the high school rivalry but I went ahead with it. After the visit Lindsay said we have to get this girl, we love her,” Capobianco said.

Fast forward two years and Hagerman, a junior, and Auger, a sophomore, have helped key a team turnaround. Assumption is 8-4 entering Wednesday’s game against Northeast-10 foe Le Moyne.

Auger is second on the team with 27 goals and leads with 11 assists. Hagerman (20 goals, 3 assists) is the fourth Greyhound with 20 or more goals. Sophomore Amy McNeil of Orange, Conn., leads with 58 goals.

Assumption has won three games by one goal (twice in overtime) and earlier this season beat a nationally ranked team for the first time in program history when it beat Merrimack in the season opener.

Not bad for a team searching for its first winning season since 2002.

In last week’s 23-10 thumping of Franklin Pierce, Auger had four goals and three assists, and Hagerman scored three times.

“I didn’t come to Assumption thinking that we would ever be much of a program,” said Hagerman, who made her decision before Capobianco’s hiring. “But I feel really good about being part of the team that is changing the program. We used to be kind of the laughingstock of the athletic department. Now we’re taken seriously and respected.”

Auger pointed to Hagerman’s leadership and selfless play as pivotal to the progress.

“This year in particular Lindsay has stepped up as a leader,” Auger said. “Whether she knows it or not, everyone feels that way about her.”

Hagerman has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and said she has always struggled to keep up with her studies. As a freshman she was academically ineligible.

“Not playing freshman year was a huge disappointment for me. I knew I wanted to play in college. Lacrosse was my passion,” Hagerman said. “I just stayed connected with the team and my coach, and I just knew exactly what I wanted to do to get back on the right track.”

In her sophomore year she was hit with an even tougher blow. Her brother, Tim Hagerman, was diagnosed with cancer. He died shortly after Christmas at the age of 26.

Despite the setbacks, Hagerman played as a sophomore.

“I had to grow up faster, because not playing lacrosse made me mature and then (the death) made me grow up faster than the other kids,” Hagerman said.

“She’s an inspiration to all of us,” Capobianco said.

Capobianco said Auger has  helped set a higher standard for the program.

“Camille comes in first in every fitness test and has the best stickwork on the team,” Capobianco said. “There’s no doubt in my mind she could be playing Division I lacrosse.”

The once impersonal rivals have become fast friends.

“We’re not roommates but I’m in Lindsay’s room hanging out all the time,” Auger said.

They do occasionally recollect their high school battles, Auger said.

Kennebunk had the edge when Auger was a freshman and sophomore. When Hagerman was a senior, Scarborough beat Kennebunk in the Western A playoffs en route to the state title. Auger’s senior season ended with a loss to Scarborough.

(Continued on page 2)

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