Windham High’s lacrosse programs are both 6-0 in Class A North and increasingly looking like legitimate threats to challenge some of the long-established powers in Maine.

“Eight years ago when I first started, we would have maybe one, two kids who had played before,” said Windham boys’ coach Peter Small. “Now, kids are playing at a much younger age. We’ve got a youth program doing a tremendous job, and that’s paying dividends for both the boys’ and girls’ teams.”

Midfielder Tommy Lekousi, right, shown being guarded by Max Cheever of Portland during a 2018 playoff game, has been one of the keys to Windham’s transition game this spring. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

The Windham girls showed their mettle with a recent 7-6 victory over defending state champion Falmouth. The boys’ team has outscored its opponents 102-23.

It’s fair to say of the two Windham teams, the girls have the more challenging schedule. Thursday night, the Eagles will be in Waterboro to face Massabesic, the only other unbeaten Class A team.

While Massabesic boasts a strong tradition, reaching five of the last six Class A state championship games, Windham is still looking for its first title game appearance. Eagles Coach Matt Perkins, however, is not surprised by his team’s record.

“We felt good coming into the year,” he said of a squad that returned eight starters after going 8-6 and falling to Falmouth in the Class A North semifinals (losing 10-5, after a halftime tie). “We’ve been close. We’ve been in the mix.”

Two years ago, Windham went 12-3 and advanced to the regional final before falling by a goal to Messalonskee. That group helped solidify an offseason commitment to lacrosse, as about 20 girls took part in a winter league and continued to catch and throw throughout the year.

“The work ethic and coachability of this group is special,” Perkins said. “We don’t have anyone that’s selfish. Every one of them is constantly looking for who’s open. The kids know we’re a better team if everybody can score.”

Sophomore Emma Yale leads the attack with 28 goals and 10 assists, but Riley Beem and Belle Skvorak each have more than a dozen goals and Alanna Joyce has 15 assists. In an 11-8 victory over Cheverus on Monday night, four players contributed assists.

“That means we’re not just carrying the ball up and shooting,” Perkins said. “We’re passing, we’re hitting the open player and doing the right things to create scoring chances.”

In the six years that Perkins has been leading the program, he has seen a wider pool of talent spread from a few schools to many. He said the victory over Falmouth was gratifying, but that Windham has bigger goals.

“We have the ability,” he said. “We need to continue to work hard and peak at the right time. Playing against these tough teams, you need kids to be bought in on what we’re trying to do.”

The Windham boys are third in the Class A North Heal point standings. Despite losing three straight, defending regional champ Falmouth (5-3) is in first and is still the team to beat.

“Everyone would think you have to beat Falmouth,” Small said.

Windham midfielders Tommy Lekousi and Liam McCusker have keyed the Eagles’ transition game. University of Vermont commit and four-year starter Ty Woolston is one of the best finishers in the state at attack. The Eagles have also been good on restarts, with faceoff man Holden Anderson and long-stick midfielders Brady Jackson and Seth Wall on the wings.

“Holden’s been doing a great job and we’ve been able to win those, and that’s allowed us to get out ahead quickly on teams and control the tempo,” Small said.

In boys’ lacrosse, there is a clearly defined group of established programs that have dominated come tournament time. Scarborough, Cape Elizabeth, Brunswick, Yarmouth and Falmouth have combined to win 22 of the 26 Class A and B titles since 2006 (along with 15 runner-up finishes). More recently, South Portland and Thornton Academy joined the elite ranks.

Programs like Windham, Bonny Eagle (5-1 in Class A South), and Portland (6-1 in the North) are still not playing top-tier schedules but have begun to close the talent gap, said Falmouth Coach David Barton.

“If you look at the last 10 years or so, the Capes, the South Portlands and Yarmouths and Falmouths have remained on top, but you look at A South and Bonny Eagle is on a run,” said Barton, who also helps run the LaxPros club program. “There are more premier players coming to the forefront. Windham has a couple of super talented guys in Ty and Tommy Lekousi. There are just great players all over the state.”

THE GORHAM GIRLS already have surpassed last year’s record of 4-9 by racing out to a 6-1 start. The Rams aren’t reliant on one or two scorers.

“We really don’t have anybody who’s leading the pack,” said Coach Mary Guimond. “We have a lot of chemistry with this year’s group. They’re learning how to use each other’s strengths to be a more dynamic team, and a bigger threat to the competition.”

Gorham plays Friday at Freeport, which is also 6-1, losing only to Yarmouth. Gorham’s only loss was against Kennebunk.

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