STANDISH — Unlike most lacrosse players who go on to play collegiately, Haley Nason didn’t play the sport growing up.

In fact, she might have never played lacrosse at all if she hadn’t been in Bob Davies’ math class her freshman year at Thornton Academy.

But one day, Davies, an assistant for the Golden Trojans’ girls lacrosse team, mentioned that the program needed a goalie for the junior varsity team that spring. Luckily, he didn’t have to look farther than the front row.

“He said he needed a goalie,” Nason recalled recently. “And I just thought I’d like it.”

So Nason tried out for the one position most kids don’t want to get anywhere near.

As it turned out, she was a natural.

Just one year after playing her first lacrosse match, Nason was a starter on the 2007 varsity team that went 6-5 and made the playoffs. The next year, as a junior, Nason was the backstop for a Trojans’ team that was Western Maine Class A runner-ups, and her senior season, she registered a .529 save percentage for a team that went 12-3.

Three years later, Nason is now stepping into the starting role at Saint Joseph’s just like she did at Thornton ”“ seamlessly.

“I had some great coaches in high school,” Nason said, crediting both Davies and TA head coach Craig Agreste. “They really built me as a player and that helped the transition (to college). I worked really hard and I really loved the sport, and plus, I was good at it.”

Nason made two starts and appeared in seven games for the Monks as a freshman, compiling a 1-1 record. She played 12 of the Monks 14 games last season as a sophomore. Nason started just four of those 14 as classmate Elizabeth Giacchino got the bulk of the starts.

But first-year head coach Amanda Cahoon decided to give Nason the nod in this season’s opener against Thomas College back on Feb. 26. In turn, Nason made Cahoon look like a genius, equaling the Monks’ single-game saves record with 18 saves as St. Joe’s took a dominant 17-6 victory.

Nason has started all eight games since, recording a 45 percent save percentage and 11.22 goals against average in total.

“It was definitely great,” Nason said of the Thomas game. “It just boosted my confidence, and getting the goalie of the week award was really exciting.”

A captain her senior year at Thornton, Nason has had no problem taking the lead, which comes with the territory of being a team’s starting goalie.

“As a goalie, you almost have to take that leadership role in a way,” she said. “You have to (be) strong and stay positive all game. You kind of learn how to act as a player; if you as a goalie stay positive it helps the entire team stay positive.”

As with Davies and Agreste, Nason also gives the lion’s share of the credit for her continued development this season to Cahoon.

“She’s helped me improve me so much as a player,” Nason said. “She has a really good outlook on the game and she knows how to apply it every situation, and she just knows how to get us to understand it. We’re lucky to have her as coach.”

Nason’s play has helped the St. Joe’s get off to a 6-3 start, including a perfect 3-0 in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference. Picked fifth in the preseason conference poll, Nason said she’s confident the Monks have what it takes to keep surpassing expectations.

“St. Joe’s has never won a playoff game, but I really think we can go far this year,” she said. “We have a great chance in our conference.”

GOALS, GOALS, GOALS

While Nason has been hard at work stopping goals, Kyle Baker has been scoring them in bunches.

The Kennebunk native and University of Southern Maine senior was named the Little East Conference Player of the Week for the second consecutive week after scoring seven goals and assisting on three more in a pair of wins over Mt. Idea and Saint Joseph’s last week.

Baker leads the Huskies in both goals (21) and points (30), and is shooting at a 30.9 percent clip.

UP TO THE TASK

The Bowdoin baseball team is off to an 8-6 start this spring, and former Thornton Academy standout Sam Canales is a major reason why.

After seeing action in 26 games and hitting .274 with seven RBIs last year as a freshman, Canales has moved into a starting role this season, and the increased playing time has led to an increase in production.

The third baseman is hitting 3.42 in the Polar Bears first 18 games, the highest among players with at least 10 at-bats, and is third on the team with four RBI. Canales is also tied for first with 13 hits, including a team-leading three doubles.

Contact Staff Writer Cameron Dunbar at 282-1535, Ext. 323.



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