AUGUSTA — It’s a sport that’s been dominated by southern Maine teams since it’s been offered — but if Wednesday taught us anything, it’s that central Maine lacrosse teams are making up ground.

In past years, the Maine Lacrosse Senior All-Star Games have usually been held well south and west of the Kennebec County line, from Bath to Falmouth to Waterboro. The sport has grown further north, as was evident by the senior girls game at Fuller FIeld, which Team Blue won 15-11. It marked the first time the all-star game was held at Cony High School.

“It’s great to be able to have this event here in central Maine and highlight lacrosse in this area like this,” said Cony head coach Gretchen Livingston. “We haven’t been able to host it before because we had grass, but now that we have turf, I was able to throw our hat in the ring.”

There were representatives from eight different central Maine teams in the game. It’s a far cry from the local high school lacrosse scene 15 years ago, which included just two teams and none of the pristine turf fields that exist at Cony, Gardiner and Messalonskee today.

Central Maine’s contingent consisted of Raegan Bechard and Emma Doiron of Cony; Emma Bourget of Gardiner/Hall-Dale; Emily Hersey of Lawrence; Francesca Caccamo and Natalie Townsend of Messalonskee; Eryn Poiron of Mt. Blue; Piper Hewins of MCI/Nokomis; Sarah Praul of Erskine Academy; and Sage Clukey and Alaina Lambert of Winslow.

Every Maine lacrosse team is eligible to send one player to participate in the game. However, some schools — like Cony and Messalonskee did Wednesday — can send more in the event other teams  don’t have any available/eligible players.


“It used to be that we could have every team send two or three players to this because there weren’t that many teams,” said Freeport head coach and all-star game organizer Marcia Wood. “Now, with so many more teams, we can only send one girl per team. I think the growth you see with the teams in central Maine is a part of that.”

Part of lacrosse’s growth in the area, Livingston said, has stemmed from increasing opportunities for central Maine players to stay involved with the sport outside of the spring season. Clinics that were previously held in southern Maine have made their way north, and new travel and youth programs are constantly surfacing in the area.

Megan Driscoll of Freeport, left, shoots and scores on Lily Hansen of Kennebunk during the girls lacrosse senior all-star game Wednesday night at Fuller Field in Augusta. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

The quick successes of new programs such as Lawrence and Mt. Blue have also generated interest from current students to prospective future lacrosse players. Local girls have also taken notice of the women’s lacrosse programs that have emerged at nearby colleges.

“I think we have a really supportive structure of coaches throughout this area that are really welcoming and dedicated to helping the game grow here,” Livingston said. “I think programs like Thomas and UMF developing to what they are now has also been a big help. People take notice of that.”

It’s growth that can be felt by players across the region, too. Caccamo, who said she couldn’t find many opportunities to play the sport years ago, has noticed significantly more of them these days for both youth athletes and high school players alike.

“When I was younger, there definitely wasn’t a lot to look forward to because there just weren’t that many teams,” Caccamo said. “Once I got to high school, you could see things really start building. You can really see how much it’s improved so far.”


Having turf fields, Livingston said, has helped central Maine teams close the gap a bit on their southern Maine counterparts. With no field conditions to worry about, early-season activities that had to be done in the gym in past seasons can now be done outdoors.

Eryn Parlin of Mt. Blue, left, tries to get around Megan Driscoll of Freeport during the girls lacrosse senior all-star game Wednesday night at Fuller Field in Augusta. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

“Being able to be on turf with lines outside on Day 1 was huge for us,” said Livingston, whose team played its first season on the turf this spring. “Years prior, we’d been in the gym for as many as four weeks and couldn’t be back until after April vacation. We’d been behind those other schools with turf in teams of game strategy.”

In this game, Team Blue (Praul, Clukey, Lambert) claimed bragging rights over Team Green (Bechard, Doiron, Bourget, Caccamo, Townsend, Parlin, Hewins). Team Blue got two goals from Praul, and Team Green got three from Caccamo and one each from Bourget and Townsend.

Lacrosse’s development in central Maine, Caccamo and Livingston both agreed, will continue to improve. Existing facilities, varsity programs and girls leagues in the area are only getting better, and the developments of new ones aren’t slowing down.

“There’s no place in central Maine that doesn’t have good players and people that want to win,” Caccamo said. “The drive and the interest in the sport is really here, and I think having this game here shows that. It’s going to keep growing, definitely.”

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