Speno abruptly resigns as Camden Hills boys lacrosse coachHannibal to guide varsity, jayvee squads
Rockport — The Camden Hills Regional High School boys varsity lacrosse team is off to the best start in its eight-year history.
The Windjammers also, effective Tuesday, May 7, have a new head coach.
Following the team's 18-3 victory over Mount Blue of Farmington May 7 on Don Palmer Field in Rockport, varsity coach Matt Speno abruptly resigned as the team's coach. Speno was in his second year guiding the program.
“I accepted Matt's resignation,” said Camden Hills athletic director Steve Alex. “He resigned following the game.”
Junior varsity coach Mark Hannibal, who has been involved with the program for years, will guide the Windjammers, who are 5-3 this spring, for the remainder of the season.
“He's a good guy,” said Hannibal of the former coach. “I like Matt. And I can't explain why he did what he did.”
Efforts to reach Speno by phone or email for comment were unsuccessful.
Hannibal, who was on the sideline for Tuesday's game, had no idea of Speno's intentions to resign, but said Speno was frustrated with his team's play.
“We were up [in the game],” said Hannibal. “But what happens is the kids were trying to play their game, instead of the way we're coaching them to play. And so we have something we work on every day in practice, and they weren't doing that [in the game]. And they look great in practice and then game time comes, and it's like a different bunch of guys on the field that we don't recognize.
“I understand [Speno's] frustrations.”
Alex said he is searching for an assistant coach for the boys lacrosse team for the remainder of the season.
Despite the coaching change, the Windjammers are in the Eastern Class B playoff hunt.
“I'm not at all surprised that we're 5-3,” said Hannibal. “I've seen a lot of these guys for the entire time they've been at the high school and I coach fundamentals. Passing, catching, ground balls. If you don't control the ball, you don't control the game. It's that simple [and] it doesn't matter what sport.”
Alex said “it was an awkward situation, but we're moving on.”
“We're in a strong position right now [and] I thank Matt for his service,” he said. “Mark Hannibal's going to do a great job for us for the remainder of the season.”
Speno guided the Windjammers to a 4-8 record last season and a berth in the Eastern Class B playoffs. The No. 8 Windjammers lost to No. 1 St. Dominic Academy of Lewiston 16-3 in the regional quarterfinals.
Speno graduated from Dulaney High School in Timonium, Md. in 1985 and, along with his brothers Brad, Charlie and Tim, was one of the most successful lacrosse players in the history of the school. The brothers helped lead the school to state titles in the sport.
Thus far this season in the Maine Principals' Association Heal Point Standings, Camden Hills (5-3, 8.9583 points) is sixth in Eastern Class B, while Gardiner (8-0, 52.7083 points) is first in the 12-team region. The top eight teams qualify for the playoffs.
Courier Publications Associate Sports Director Mark Haskell can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.