New Brunswick girls lacrosse coach EmaLeigh Aschbrenner watches her team play Messalonskee during a scrimmage Tuesday in Oakland. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

The Brunswick High School girls and boys lacrosse programs were poised to enter a new era in 2020 with new coaches leading the programs.

However, the coronavirus pandemic led to the cancellation of that spring sports season, putting the new beginnings on hold.

With spring sports a go in 2021, new Brunswick lacrosse coaches — Jason Miller with the boys and EmaLeigh Aschbrenner with the girls — finally could get to work.

“I’m excited and ready to go while adjusting on the fly,” said Jason Miller, who was named coach last year after Don Glover announced his retirement following the 2019 season.

Miller has been with the Dragons since 2007.

“I’ve held nearly every position under Don (Glover); JV coach, defensive coach and box coach to name a few,” he said. “I know this year will be tough with a year off and the format of school being different, but we’re going to make things work and try to make the season as normal as possible for the players.”

Aschbrenner, a 2015 Brunswick graduate, enters her rookie season leading the girls lacrosse program. Aschbrenner played four years of varsity lacrosse for the Dragons, starting as the goalie for her final three seasons.

“I’m extremely excited, this has been a dream of mine for a while now and I didn’t think it would come so soon in my life,” said Aschbrenner, 23. “I’m ecstatic to help these girls and teams grow for years and years to come.”

Brunswick girls lacrosse coaches Brittany Voght, left, and EmaLeigh Aschbrenner check out the action during a scrimmage against Messalonskee on Tuesday in Oakland. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

Aschbrenner graduated from the University of New England (Biddeford) in 2019, where she stayed involved with the Brunswick lacrosse community by setting up a summer program for first- and second-graders to learn the game. The players who attended the first camp are now sophomores and juniors at Brunswick, making it extra special for Aschbrenner.

“It’s truly full circle that I’ll be coaching those girls at the high school level now,” said Aschbrenner. “Coaching lacrosse has always been a passion of mine, and I’m more than ready to get going.”

Brunswick isn’t the only Midcoast with new spring coaches.

In Topsham,  Mt. Ararat High School has a few new spring coaches as well. Terri Tlumac, who coaches the freshman girls basketball squad, takes over the  softball team. Jack Rioux, who also leads the boys soccer program, will coach the boys tennis team.

“I’m ready to learn and pick things up as I go,” said Rioux, who played in high school for the Eagles and now teaches at the middle school. “Tennis is much more repetitive than soccer and I’ll have a different approach.”

Rioux has experience coaching tennis at Maine Pines, as well as through the Topsham Recreation Department. He is hoping his experience will help him at the varsity level.

“I have no idea how the rest of the league looks since we didn’t have a season last year; I’m still a rookie,” said Rioux. “This year as a whole hope we have fun and improve everyday, the wins will come if we stick with our plan.”

On the diamond, Tlumac comes to Mt. Ararat after coaching the Lisbon softball team for nine seasons.

New Brunswick girls lacrosse coach EmaLeigh Aschbrenner watches the action during a scrimmage against Messalonskee on Tuesday in Oakland. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

“The experiences and working with athletes in Lisbon gave me some good insight on what I needed to work on as a coach,” said Tlumac, who works at Mt. Ararat High as a special services teacher. “That experience allowed me to fine tune myself and dig deeper as a coach.”

After graduating from Brunswick in 1999, Tlumac attended the University of Maine at Farmington to pursue a teaching degree while playing for the softball team.

She is looking to start fresh start in 2021.

“We’re starting fresh with a great group of kids who are eager to get better,” she said. “We will be starting from the ground up with the goal of building the program and becoming more successful than we have been in recent years.”

 

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