Laker field hockey beat heat, Greely 3-2

LIZ COLE (left) battles a Greely player for the ball during the season opener. Cole, a sophomore, scored the game winner. PREVIEW: VARSITY FIELD HOCKEY Head Coach: Pauline Webb, second year No JV team: Numbers lowest in history, but middle school numbers on the rise Key Returning Players: Abby Scott-Mitchell, senior, forward; Meghan VanLoan, senior, goalie; Bridgette Letarte, senior, mid; Rachel Bell, senior, back; Molly Christensen, junior, mid. Top Newcomers: Olivia Deschenes, very skilled player with a never-give-up work ethic. Players to watch: Abby Scott-Mitchell, scoring threat; Olivia Deschenes, creates a lot for the team Strengths: Forwards and mids are playing well together early in the season; very coachable; willing to play where Coach Webb needs them. Weaknesses: Low numbers, and most of the subs are backs. Outlook: Coach Webb is encouraged by how the girls are driving the ball up the field and driving much sooner on goal once in the circle. Three Keys to the Season: Stay healthy; play smart and disciplined; and communication on the field. Three Goals: No injuries; make playoffs; and have fun!

LIZ COLE (left) battles a Greely player for the ball during the season opener. Cole, a sophomore, scored the game winner.
PREVIEW: VARSITY FIELD HOCKEY
Head Coach: Pauline Webb, second year
No JV team: Numbers lowest in history, but middle school numbers on the rise
Key Returning Players: Abby Scott-Mitchell, senior, forward; Meghan VanLoan, senior, goalie; Bridgette Letarte, senior, mid; Rachel Bell, senior, back; Molly Christensen, junior, mid.
Top Newcomers: Olivia Deschenes, very skilled player with a never-give-up work ethic.
Players to watch: Abby Scott-Mitchell, scoring threat; Olivia Deschenes, creates a lot for the team
Strengths: Forwards and mids are playing well together early in the season; very coachable; willing to play where Coach Webb needs them.
Weaknesses: Low numbers, and most of the subs are backs.
Outlook: Coach Webb is encouraged by how the girls are driving the ball up the field and driving much sooner on goal once in the circle.
Three Keys to the Season: Stay healthy; play smart and disciplined; and communication on the field.
Three Goals: No injuries; make playoffs; and have fun!

It pays to be in the right spot at the right time, as sophomore forward Liz Cole discovered.

Cole converted a well-placed crossing pass from senior Abby Scott-Mitchell into a shot into the left corner at 15:57 of the second half to lead Lake Region to a 3-2 varsity field hockey victory in the season opener in Naples.

On a hot day with few subs available, the Lakers played with intensity and displayed solid passing in the offensive end to defeat the Rangers.

Bridgette Letarte scored with just 2:45 off the clock, assisted by Scott-Mitchell. Greely tied it up at 23:50, leaving the teams tied at halftime.

Lake Region regained the lead four minutes into the second half as junior Molly Christensen placed a nice drive from 5 yards outside the circle to Scott-Mitchell, who unloaded a hard drive on goal. A Greely defender attempted to stop the drive, but the shot deflected off a stick and into the goal.

Greely came right back to tie it up four minutes later.

The Lakers kept the pressure on and it paid off as Cole knocked in the game winner.

LR goalie Meghan VanLoan recorded 10 saves, including a couple of kick stops in the closing minutes.

“I am very pleased with how well the girls are playing together this early in the season, considering we lost 10 seniors, all of whom were starters at some point in the season last year,” LR Coach Pauline Webb said. “They are reading each other well on the field and they are using their drives much more this season as well as taking their shot on goal as soon as they are at the top of the circle.”

Coach Webb noted that with just 18 players on the roster, the Lakers worked hard during preseason on their physical conditioning.

“We know we are limited with subs; and we practiced mid-day three days a week during preseason so they were use to the heat,” said Coach Webb, who felt her squad fared quite well despite the 80-degree temps last Wednesday. “I’m hoping it’s also because I’ve asked them to take sugar off their diet for the season and we hydrate with water and watermelon.”

The Lakers saw their record even at 1-1 following a 4-0 road loss Friday to York.

“York is strong! They have 10 experienced players on the field, who can run and they are very disciplined. It was a much faster game than playing against Greely,” Coach Webb said. “We held back some of our defense because we don’t have that speed we had last year and that creates gaps for us, which the other players try to make up for. The girls were very positive and supportive through the whole game. At the end of the game, they were able to recognize that if they play that hard against other teams, they are going to do well.”

Next: The Lakers travel to Poland today, Sept. 11 for a 4 p.m. game and head to Cape Elizabeth on Saturday for a 4 p.m. contest. The Lakers host Fryeburg Academy on Monday, Sept. 15 at 4 p.m.

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