The Camden Hills Regional High School boys lacrosse team has started the season with two losses, but both matches proved to be completely different affairs.

The Windjammers lost to St. Dominic of Lewiston 15-1 April 21, but bounced back with a 10-7 loss to host Morse of Bath April 22.

The Windjammers include seniors Owen Mahan (defense), Ben Dufour (midfield), Taylor Williams (midfield), Taylor Harrision (defense), Henry Haselton (defense), Derek Drechsler (midfield), Jacob Halberg (defense), Zach Nelson (attack) and Brandon Rich (midfield); juniors Josiah Bartlett (midfield), Nick Linscott (midfield), Max Mercier (midfield/attack), Andrew Flanagan (midfield), Malcom Steele (midfield), Vinny Kwiathowski (midfield/attack), Lucus Dill (injured, manager) and Jay Knowlton (defense); sophomore Marshall Crockett (attack); and freshman Aaron Daniello (goalie).

The coach said he plans to have sophomores Weston Byrant, Evan Hannibal and Jordan Tyler play jayvees and some on varsity.

The team lost Morgan Baxter, Kyle Koskinen, Cyrus Hannibal, Evan Bianchi, Taylor Harrison, Jeff Jordan and Zack Wincklhofer to graduation.

The season-opening match did not turn out as the Windjammers hoped. At Bates College in Lewiston, the ‘Jammers not only battled the host Saints, but also 35-degree temperatures and rain in a 15-1 loss.

“St. Doms is a very accomplished club. They are very good ballhandlers and they move the ball very well,” said third-year Windjammer coach Josh Ledwith. “They were able to make speedy passes and get them in.”

However, Ledwith feels the first game will not hold his team down. In fact, it might give Camden Hills more reason to fight back.

“The guys that came out played very well,” Ledwith said of the ‘Jammers, who only had about 14 players due to school vacation. “I think they all learned a lot and it was kind of a wake-up call for them, which is good. I think they will be excited for the next game.”

That next game also provided Camden Hills thinned numbers due to vacation as the Windjammers lost to Morse 10-7, but with a better all-around performance.

“I thought it was just a really competitive game,” Ledwith said. “Both teams are pretty well matched. I think if we had started stronger earlier we would have probably taken them in the end.”

Morse grabbed a 3-1 lead after the first quarter and led 6-4 at halftime. In the third quarter the hosts led 8-4.

Substitute goalie Marshall Crockett made 10 saves for Camden Hills. With only one day of training at the position, the usual attackman was put in the box. “He did a great job, I thought,” Ledwith said.

Zach Nelson and Weston Bryant led the Windjammers with two goals, while Max Mecier, Vinny Kwiatkowski and Nick Marren each netted one.

The Windjammers took 21 shots.

For Morse, Alex Paulus and Matt Buczkowski netted two goals each, while Zechariah Thomas, Schuyler Mace and Otto Werwaiss contributed one each.

Ledwith said he was pleased with his team despite the loss. He said Camden Hills came out of the gates slow so it fell behind, but as the game went on the visitors gained momentum.

He said in the second half the ‘Jammers had better control of the ball and applied increased pressure.

The coach said because the game took place during a school break, not all the team members were there. It especially hurt the squad at midfield.

“I think our mids weren’t getting back on defense fast enough, they were just too burnt out,” the coach said.

Now that the team is back from vacation, at full strength, Ledwith wants to work on keeping possession of the ball and maintaining a controlled attack.

In the long run, Ledwith expects the team to come together and gel as the season goes on.

“The guys know each other really well because they have been playing together for about three years so the skills have really improved a lot,” he said. “Their shooting has gotten a lot better. They have also grown into their bodys a lot now that most of them are upperclassmen. They are just a lot more coordinated and they are communicating with each other better.”

In the game against St. Doms, Halberg scored the ‘Jammer goal in the second quarter as he moved past three Saint defenders for a breakaway shot.

Daniello got better as the game went on, according to the coach. He had one save in first quarter, three in second, eight in the third and four in fourth.

So far the greatest challenge for the team has been getting onto the field to practice. Aside from the weather, the team had been plagued with sickness and injury and coach Ledwith said it has been hard to organize a group of attackmen together for the season.

Despite that, the team has plenty of experience and will be fine. For one, he said that this year’s team values teamwork, something he had a problem with last year.

“In years past there were just a few strong attackmen that would try to lead the charge and they wouldn’t play well as a team,” Ledwith said. “They would hog the ball, they would try to go through too many guys, [try to] score themselves, and then pass. I think these guys are a lot better at passing the ball and playing as a team, which is a great asset since they have been together so long.”

He said the team has seen the impact of showboating, ballhogging and risky shots and wants to improve.

“I think they are going to remember that in practice and try to reinforce instead of taking the bad shot or forcing the bad pass, you know, pass it to someone else and get an assist instead of trying to get the goal yourself,” he said.

Already he has seen the players work together.

“I’ve seen the kids move the ball a lot better, in that regard, around practice time,” the coach said. “[We want them to] try to find that open man, try to find that easy goal instead of trying to get it themselves and try to work through four or five centers to get there.”

However, Ledwith said he expects to see a few leaders on the team. Mercier, for example, has gone to training camp and returned with better shooting, a great attitude, and good stick skills, according to the coach.

Even some of the new kids are worthy of note. “We have got a lot of fast kids, too,” he said. “Some of the newer ones that didn’t really play that much last year because their stick skills weren’t as good.”

Ledwith said Flanagan and Steele are fast players who will help come up with a ground ball and hold possession.

Defensively, the coach has about four or five long sticks that have been on the field for three years, which is good because those defenders have a freshman goalie to protect. Even so, Daniello has varsity ice hockey goalie experience so he should be able to handle himself.

From what Ledwith has seen thus far, he has high hopes for the season, once it really gets going.

“I think the kids are going to get fired up once we get into game scenarios here,” the coach said. “They get bored easily, like most kids do these days. They get tired of doing drills and ground ball work and that sort of thing, but I know they love to play the game. They love the competitiveness.”

Village NetMedia Sports Reporter Frederick Freudenberger can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail at fritz@villagesoup.com.