BRUNSWICK HIGH SCHOOL field hockey players Lillian Kjellman, Michelle Ingram, Taylor Godbout, Olivia LeRoy and goaltender Sydney Escoe prepare to defend against a Lewiston penalty corner in a recent Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference contest at Lewiston.

BRUNSWICK HIGH SCHOOL field hockey players Lillian Kjellman, Michelle Ingram, Taylor Godbout, Olivia LeRoy and goaltender Sydney Escoe prepare to defend against a Lewiston penalty corner in a recent Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference contest at Lewiston.

TOPSHAM

Mt. Ararat High School head coach Kelly LaFountain is “pleasantly surprised to be a bit ahead of where I thought we would be at this point in the season.”

After getting shut out by Skowhegan (5-0) and Lewiston (2-0) to open the season, the Eagles’ field hockey squad has won five straight.

“We had several close games last season with many of the teams and I knew it would be pretty much the same this year,” added LaFountain. “Last year we either tied or lost the close games and now we are fortunate to be winning them.”

Experience is what is guiding Mt. Ararat these days.

“I see our experience in key positions being a huge positive for us,” allowed LaFountain. “Lizzie O’Neal and Charlotte Crosby are playing in their fourth seasons on varsity, and Caitlin LaFountain (five goals), Carly Raymond and Sarah Sandlin are threeyear players for us.

“That gives me two wings, two midfielders and a sweep who are strong players. With Mallory Nelson (center back) and Micaela Mitchell (center forward, two goals, two assists) in their second years they have filled in to make our play up the middle solid. On top of that, we acquired a huge addition in goalie Taylor Pare, who has played extremely well for us (42 saves on 51 shots) as a firstyear keeper, making some amazing saves with her athleticism and aggressive style of play.”

Hard work is apparently paying off.

“This is a great group of girls who work hard and get along really well,” lauded LaFountain. “It’s always a positive when the players know their roles and realize their contributions are valuable to the success of the group, and I feel this is happening right now.

“Our play between the circles is getting better every game. We have improved our passing and spacing, which is good. However, we can always improve our circle play on both ends of the field. We need to do a better job getting our feet out of the way and watching our stick obstruction in the defensive circle to limit the amount of corners we give up, especially against the stronger teams.

“In the offensive circle the players need to know where they are in relation to the goal before taking the shot. We have some strong hits but are just missing on a lot of opportunities. Obviously, it’s about being able to finish, and if we can improve on our accuracy and placement when shooting, things will continue to get better for us.

“Lizzie and Caitlin have done well in the midfield, and Kaely Lewis has stepped up her play and had some good games for us as our third mid,” added LaFountain. “Mallory, Sarah and Paige Perry have had strong games on defense, and others who have made defensive contributions are Katelyn Beedy and Kate Groh.”

The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the thirdranked Eagles, what with Messalonskee, Lawrence, Lewiston and rival Brunswick on tap.

“All the games are tough coming down the stretch and I expect them all to be a battle,” said LaFountain. “There is still a lot of field hockey to be played and our goal is to make the playoffs with a chance to win a game. If we continue to stay healthy, improve on our conditioning and work hard during practice it should be fun as things play out.”

Morse struggles

Johnna Stanton got back into coaching after a two-year layoff and the Shipbuilders are struggling.

After Tuesday night’s 3-1 loss to Belfast, the Shipbuilders are 0-7.

“I am definitely not where I thought I’d be,” said Stanton. “I knew games would be challenging, but I thought we’d be losing by one goal, not many.

“The girls don’t play off-season so I’m trying to teach them fundamentals while trying to prepare them to play against teams who play all year round.”

There are some goods and not-so-good.

“They really like each other, and enjoy field hockey a lot,” said Stanton, while adding that they need to work on “our timing, offseason play and mental toughness.”

Aysia McCloud has been an offensive leader, while Hannah Rossetti, Jasmine Thibodeau, Emma Harrington and Tasha Jacobs have stood out on defense.

“We have lots of tough teams and some important teams coming up,” said Stanton of her remaining games, which includes Oceanside, Nokomis and Mt. Blue.

Rebuilding in Brunswick

“We knew going into the season that it would be a rebuilding year for us after losing seven starters from last season and only fielding one team,” said Brunswick coach Rebecca Costa. “The girls have worked hard to improve throughout the season and this year will be another tough year to graduation with eight starting seniors.”

After Tuesday’s 3-0 victory over Edward Little, the Dragons sit at 1-5-1 and host Brewer today at 4 p.m.

“They are a great group of girls that work hard on and off the field. They want to learn and improve each day,” lauded Costa. “They have worked hard on conditioning throughout the season.

“We need to continue to work on spacing, moving to the ball, and changing direction of the ball.

Offensive leaders include Lillian Kjellman, Grace Rabinowitz and Hanna Bobker. “Lilly and Grace have done an excellent job on the wings for us,” said Costa.

Elise Bourban, an exchange student from Switzerland who is new to the game of field hockey, has been a pleasant surprise. “She has provided us with endurance, a never-give-up attitude, and has picked the game up very quickly to earn a starting position at midfield and during seven versus seven overtime.”

“Olivia LeRoy, Samm Clark and Taylor Godbout have anchored the defense all season and all have had more impact,” continued Costa. “LeRoy, the only returning defender, has worked hard to help others learn and has been a leader in the backfield.

“Goaltender Sydney Escoe has kept us in many games in goal. She has worked hard this season against some tough competition.

“We are looking forward to the last half of our season as we get to see some teams that we have already played. We have a very tough homecoming game this season — Skowhegan!


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