North Yarmouth Academy won the state Class C field hockey championship last year with five seniors. That meant this season should have been a smooth transition for new Coach Tracy Quimby.

NYA would not have to rebuild, but simply reload to defend its title in 2011.

Then six players transferred and Quimby found herself piecing together a team.

“We had three kids return from varsity,” Quimby said. She expects her inexperienced players to learn as they go.

“We’re still working out kinks,” she said. “It’s not pretty, but we do get the job done.”

The Panthers have indeed demonstrated their mettle, jumping out to a 3-1 record, the only blemish a 2-0 loss to Class B Greely. They are the early leaders in the Class C West Heal Point standings.

There are a few reasons for NYA’s quick rebuilding this year.

One is that Quimby is no newcomer to the Panthers. She followed four seasons as NYA’s middle school coach with the past two years as the junior varsity coach. And she coached the varsity often last year when head coach Julia Sterling was on medical leave.

Most of the new varsity players are used to playing together, and for Quimby.

But they still had to adjust to the varsity level. That is where the three returning players have helped.

“They are the three captains and they have done an excellent job leading the team,” Quimby said.

“They explain, when things go wrong, what is needed. They’ve really been helpful.”

And those three — seniors Katie Cawley and Katherine Millett and junior Jen Brown — have also been flexible. Brown has played both left and right midfield. Millett has moved back and forth, from the front line to midfield. Cawley has moved from defense to the front line.

“I knew Katie had been a forward in the past,” said Quimby, who had coached her on JV and in middle school. “I knew she had a strong desire to put the ball in the net, and that’s what we needed.”

Cawley has six goals for NYA. Millett has four.

Quimby said she is “real impressed” with her young defense. Freshman Elizabeth Coughlin has been strong in goal, and Quimby said sophomore Nikolle Storey will soon get her chance in net. The defenders are a mix of sophomores (Kayla Rose, Emma Warren and Abby McKelvy) and freshman Alexandra Barnes.

The Panthers play at Class A power York next Monday. 

SANFORD ENJOYED a 3-0 week to move to 4-0. But the Redskins face a challenging week. They were scheduled to play Thornton Academy on Monday, and then face unbeaten Scarborough (4-0) on Wednesday. 

WESTERN CLASS B has been a bastion of parity. Falmouth is unbeaten (3-0-1), tying Lake Region, and beating Greely 4-3 on a goal with three seconds left. Greely edged Fryeburg Academy 1-0, while the Raiders defeated York 2-1, and earlier beat Lake Region.

Greely has a tough week, taking on Fryeburg today and York Thursday.

Staff writer Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:  [email protected]

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