High school boys lacrosse

Camden Hills finishes with flurry, ready to stick out in playoffs

Winners of seven straight matches, Windjammers face Messalonskee June 9 in playoff
By Ken Waltz | Jun 03, 2018

Wales — The Camden Hills boys lacrosse team is exhibit A for why a team should not be overly concerned about how a season — or, for that matter, a game or match — might begin. Thanks to hard work and a never-quit attitude, the Windjammers proved perseverance often prevails.

The Windjammers' motto appeared to be stay the course, learn and move forward because dedication, leadership and improvement eventually will pay dividends.

And for Camden Hills it has.

The Windjammers started the season 0-2 — and were outscored 32-7 in those losses — and were 1-4 to begin the spring.

Other players and teams might, at that point, have hung their heads in defeat and given up on the season. Not Camden Hills, under the guidance of first-year coach Harrison Rogers, which simply went back to work.

Camden Hills then won its final seven matches, including an exciting season-ending 7-6 road victory over Oak Hill on Wednesday, May 30.

All that improvement will be put to the test when the Windjammers face Messalonskee of Oakland in the first round of the state Class B playoffs on Saturday, June 9 at 11 a.m. at Thomas College in Waterville.

In the Maine Principals' Association Heal Point Standings for Class B, Camden Hills (8-4, 110.4167 points) finished fifth and Greely of Cumberland (9-3, 144.5833 points) first in the 15-team division. The top 10 teams qualify for the playoffs.

There are no typical two regions in Class B boys lacrosse, thus, the eventual winner of the playoffs will be the state champion. The 10 qualifying teams are broken into two groups and the survivors eventually will meet in the state title game on Saturday, June 16 at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland.

Camden Hills will face No. 4 Messalonskee (7-5) in the quarterfinals. The Eagles started the season with a 15-4 win over the host Windjammers.

“The players, the seniors, and myself are excited for the opportunity to play a great Messalonskee program next Saturday," Rogers said.

On May 30, the Windjammers outlasted host Oak Hill 7-6 in the final match of the regular season. Camden Hills scored two goals in the first quarter, one in the second and two in the third and fourth. Oak Hill had one in the first, three in the third and two in the fourth.

For Camden Hills, Thomas Griebel (3 goals, 2 assists), Owen Rokous (2 goals, assist), Kieran McGrath (goal), Matt Nickerson (goal), Alex Vokey (assist), Dan Lydon (assist) led the offense.

Defensively, goalie James Lynch (4 saves), Lydon (7 ground balls, 3 caused turnovers), Vokey (9 ground balls, 9 caused turnovers), Marco D’Amato (3 ground balls, 5 caused turnovers), Will Nickerson (3 caused turnovers) led the way.

For Oak Hill, Xavier Michaud (3 goals), Nathan Marcotte (2 goals, assist), Gabe Bergeron (goal, assist), Darryn Bailey (assist), Riley Worth (assist) and goalie Brandon Glover (17 saves) proved key contributors.

Camden Hills needed the final win to receive a prelim playoff bye, the coach said.

Rogers said his squad "played a tough" opponent, who finished with nine wins in 12 matches in Class C.

"We had to battle against a really good and well-coached Oak Hill team until the last second of the game for that win," Rogers said.

Camden Hills outshot Oak Hill 33-22 and the score was 3-1 at the end of the first half.

Oak Hill scored a late goal with 18 seconds left in the match and won the ensuing faceoff for a final chance on a tying score. The Windjammer defense held and Camden Hills got the much-needed win, Rogers said.

“This was a big win for our team and our seniors to finish the season on a seven-game winning streak and to receive a first-round playoff bye," Rogers said. "I cannot say enough about the positive impact that the seniors have had on this team and throughout their four-year careers. They showed true leadership through the slow start of the season and brought this team back for seven straight wins.”

The coach said the defense of seniors Vokey, Will Nickerson, D’Amato and Lydon "had their best game of the season. Each defender was a force with one-versus-one defending, team defense, ground balls, clearing the ball and even contributing on the offensive end," Rogers said.

The coach added that Thomas Griebel and Rokous "continued their stellar offensive year and contributed five goals and three assists between the two of them.”

The Camden Hills and Messalonskee playoff winner will face the survivor of No. 1 Greely, No. 8 Morse of Bath and No. 9 Gardiner. The Windjammers beat Gardiner 11-7, but did not play Greely or Morse.

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