By Tony Blasi, Sports Editor
You don’t have to tell University of Maine at Farmington women’s lacrosse coach Beth Lebel that duplicating last season’s overall 10-4 performance will all come down to the Beavers’ work ethic.
In the North Atlantic Conference, the Beavers finished 7-2 and made a trip to the postseason.
“We are young in experience, but we plan to make up for it in grit and synergy,” Lebel said. “Returning players and new players have meshed together well in preseason and have showed discipline on their own and within my expectations.”
Lebel will also be relying on the Beavers’ pride and work ethic as well as implementing some changes to make another run at the playoffs.
“Train a midfielder mentality because it is everyone’s responsibility to play offense and defense on the field,” Lebel said. “We never know what play will win the game.”
The UMF coach will also be looking to strengthing the Beavers’ communication skills and jump-start their drive on the field.
Of course, Lebel has four capable veterans to provide leadership to the newcomers.
“Carly Raymond (Topsham) was a 2017 NAC All-Conference First Team attacker and has transitioned to steer the midfield for us this year in her senior season,” Lebel said. “Senior Sierra Gilley (Harpswell) will drive our offense and will provide pesky pressure on the ride to cause turnovers.
“The defensive leadership of junior Samantha Cross (Bennington, Vt.) will be imperative as we try and work the new shot clock to our advantage. Junior Heather Boland (Griswold, Conn.) will be our rock between the pipes.”
Lebel is counting on newbies Alyssa Dolley, Isabella Monbouquette, Caroline Headley, Aundrea Roberge, and sophomore Robyn Nix “to make impacts in their own ways.”
She believes resilience and determination and the willingness to turn frustration into success will help the Beavers prosper in the NAC.
“We were picked to finish fourth in the NAC preseason coaches poll, but with a few new coaches in the conference, I’m looking forward to seeing how things shape up for everyone,” Lebel said. “We are consistently looking forward toward our goals.
“We can go any direction these women choose to go as long as we go together, and I’m excited to see where they take us.”