Way back in September of 1993, the Lisbon High School field hockey team blanked Livermore Falls 1-0 to end a 55-game winless streak (0-51-4).

That year, Lisbon went 1-11 and was shut out 10 times, while scoring all of two goals.

Needless to say, the Greyhounds, who were jump started years ago by Mark and Gretchen Stevens, have come a long way since then, baby!

The Greyhounds are currently 8-0 in Mountain Valley Conference play for their best ever start in the program’s history. Heck, up until this fall the best beginnings were 6-1 in 2011, 4- 0 in 2000 and again in 2005.

This group of Greyhounds, the majority of whom went undefeated in two middle school campaigns, are the real deal under second-year coach Julie Wescott and assistant Joanne “Jo Jo” Campbell.

LISBON HIGH SCHOOL field hockey leaders this season include, from left, senior Bailey Madore, junior Jenn Smith, junior Olivia Harrington and senior Luci Charest.

LISBON HIGH SCHOOL field hockey leaders this season include, from left, senior Bailey Madore, junior Jenn Smith, junior Olivia Harrington and senior Luci Charest.

Impact players

And, four players who’ve made an impact are seniors Bailey Madore and Luci Charest, and juniors Jenn Smith and Olivia Harrington.

Madore, 17, is a senior defender who missed part of the season due to injury. She is a steadying influence in the back.

She’s been playing since the sixth grade and knew this season had much potential.

“From last year when we made it to the second round (Western Maine Class C semifinal loss to North Yarmouth Academy in penalty corners), we knew we could take it a step further, what with some good freshmen coming in,” said Madore. “We talked about it and we set our goals high … we set them for a state championship. And, we can get there.”

Of the current season, Madore said she “felt like we would be like this and also be undefeated. When we come together on the field we forget about everything … we just play as a team and become connected. Off the field, the girls are great, so upbeat and happy that we’re a good team.”

Smith is a 16-year-old midfield captain, who also started in the sixth grade and was an integral part of those unbeaten squads.

“I was bad at soccer when I played in the rec. leagues,” said Smith of her foray into field hockey. “And, my mom actually played field hockey and she was our middle school coach for a couple of years, so that got me into it, too.”

Going into this season, Smith had high hopes for herself and her teammates.

“Personally, I wanted to step up my game a lot. In my freshman year I started on defense and in my sophomore year I came back to midfield, so it was kind of like a transition year for me. So, I really wanted to step my game up this year.

“On the field I have to talk a lot … and I try to help with our intensity. But, if we get too excited, I try to tone the girls down a bit. One time our goalie saved a penalty stroke and everyone was so excited. But. I was like ‘girls, the game’s not over!’

“I wanted this team to play even better then we did last year,” continued Smith. “We have really high expectations for ourselves and we want to fulfill them. On the field we really mesh. Like, I don’t think about passing upfield, I just do it because (teammate) Hanna Jordan and I have been on the left side since we started playing, so I know she’ll be there.

“Off the field, we see each other all the time and at school … we’re pretty tight-knit.”

And, the NYA game still lingers. “It is still up there,” said Smith. “It is a big motivation for us.”

Harrington is a 16-year-old captain on the forward line.

“I was very excited about this season because we have some freshmen who are very good and our junior class is very good, too,” said Harrington. “I just wanted to get the season started. We have the potential to do anything we want … when we put our minds to it.”

Charest is a 17-year-old defender who has her sights on going deep into the postseason.

“I keep my stick down and protect our circle at all costs,” said Charest of her on-field responsibilities. “Keep the other team out! We’re gunning for states this year and we have a really close-knit team. We work well together and work hard on fine-tuning our skills.

“And, NYA is definitely a driving force behind us doing well this season. It’s what helped us get here with our record.”

The girls also tribute much of their success to Wescott and her longtime assistant.

“They’ve been great coaches. Jo Jo’s been here for many years, and with Wescott being a brand-new coach it’s like a fresh start,” said Madore.

“Our coaches let us play, it’s not really like a strategy, but they know we’ve been playing together for so long,” added Smith. “When we’re having fun and we’re not flustered, that’s when we’re playing well. They just tell us to go out, play hard and get the job done.”

“They help us so much with every little thing that we focus on,” chimed in Harrington. “We then put them all together and those are the things that really count. They help us out with the techniques that makes us so successful.”

“Miss Wescott keeps us all pumped up; she’s our motivator,” said Charest. “And, she gives the pep talks that we all need, while Jo Jo keeps us calm and focused, so they balance each other out.”

Listen to the head coach

Now a word or two from the head coach:

“Eight games into our season and I can’t believe how fast it has gone … we are happy with how we are doing, we are taking it game by game and hoping to improve our game as we gain experience throughout our season,” Wescott said. “We have faced challenging teams, but each team we have faced has allowed us to regroup and focus on what to work on to get better. One of our biggest attributes on our team is our teamwork.”

“As the season has progressed the girls are trusting each other more and working together better and better each game,” continued Wescott. “Losing the talent that we did last year, positions had to be filled, but the girls that have filled those spots are doing a great job. When we play as a team and trust our teammates to get the job done is when we really shine!

“That includes our coaching staff. My assistant coach Joanne Campbell is truly amazing. We believe in each other, we are supportive, and she has a great relationship with both the girls and I. We are striving to all be on the same page all the time and it makes a difference!”

A key to success is offseason play.

“This is a very hardworking, committed group of young ladies,” said Wescott. “I can say that probably 22 of our 25 girls on the roster committed to playing summer field hockey and it shows their dedication to the sport and their willingness to work hard.

“As far as goals scored, Hanna Jordan and Arianna Kahler lead us in that, but I love how hard the front line works. Olivia Harrington, Molly Nicholson, Sarah Craig, Nichole Jones are great girls to coach and have amazing heart and work ethic.

“We don’t care who scores on our team as long as we are producing our offense. The midfielders are also strong for us. We return two starters at mid and have jostled around the right mid. Bailey Cutler is our center mid, who is a very finesse field hockey player to watch, controls our game and has the ability to be a big threat on offense. She currently leads us in assists.

“Her counterparts on the outside are Jenn Smith and sophomore Michaela Bedell, both of whom have a great stick and powerful drives which help feed the ball to our forwards. In the defensive end we have a veteran group returning in Bailey Madore, Ali Bubar and Mariah Breton. These three are always working hard to protect their circle.”

And where do the Greyhounds go from here?

“As far as the rest of the schedule goes … we know we need to win as many games as possible and take each game as a new challenge,” offered Wescott. “We don’t, and won’t, overlook any team. We have team goals that we want to meet and that helps maintain our focus.

“We are at a point in our season where we will be playing some teams for a second time and have to be prepared because teams make a lot of progress throughout the season. We have yet to see Winthrop and Dirigo, and playing a team for the first time always makes for an exciting game.”

Wescott’s final thoughts?

“I love coaching this team! I have coached some of these girls since the sixth-grade and we have a great bond. They work hard and take pride in their hard work, and we are just working our hardest to be the best team we can be.”

GEORGE ALMASI is the Times Record sports editor. He can be reached at [email protected]

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