Tuesday, December 10, 2013
The Winslow and Maranacook boys soccer teams renew a rivalry this afternoon in Readfield that has been among the best in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference.
• Madison senior Kirsten Wood scored two goals and added two assists to lead the Bulldogs to a 5-1 win over Oak Hill.
• Messalonskee freshman Brandon Nale scored a pair of goals in a 6-0 win against Mt. Blue.
• Waterville senior Christine O’Donnell scored two goals to lead the Purple Panthers to a 3-0 win against Winslow.
• Messalonskee junior Kassidi McPherson scored three goals in a 3-0 win against Skowhegan.
• Mt. Abram senior Chris Daly scored three goals in a 6-3 win against Monmouth and two in a win over Winthrop.
• Winslow junior goalkeeper Alex Berard made eight saves in a 2-0 win against Waterville to extend his shutout streak to eight games.
Both teams come into this one unbeaten and largely untested. Winslow (7-0-1) played to a scoreless tie against Waterville before coming back to beat the Purple Panthers 2-0 in the rematch this week. The Black Raiders and junior goalkeeper Alex Berard have yet to give up a goal this season.
"The Waterville game he was tested a little bit," Winslow coach Aaron Wolfe said. "He's going to be a difference maker if he can come up with a big game."
Maranacook (8-0-0) has dominated its opponents this season, outscoring them 32-2. A game against a quality opponent like Winslow is just what the Black Bears need.
"I wish I could play Camden and Winslow twice," Maranacook coach Don Beckwith said. "That's the type of team we're going to face in the playoffs. If we're not ready for that, we're not ready for anything."
Maranacook has dropped to Class C this year while maintaining its Class B schedule. A win today could put them in the top spot in Western C and assure the Bears home-field advantage in the playoffs. Both teams are similar in that they don't rely on one or two players to score and they have plenty of depth. The Black Bears will need that depth since senior midfielder Taylor Wilbur is questionable with a knee injury. If Wilbur can't go, sophomore Kent Mohlar move from wing to the middle to fill his spot, but Mohlar is also battling a hip flexor.
Wolfe believes all his players are ready to go although several are banged up. Both teams are quick but Maranacook has an edge in size and strength.
"They're a very physical team," Wolfe said. "That's one thing we're going to have to match."
Maranacook handed Winslow its only loss of the regular season last year and later played the Raiders to a 1-1 tie. Beckwith believes he's facing a more balanced team this year.
"I think they're better because they have more weapons," he said.
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The Messalonskee boys (4-4-1) have been lurking well down in the tournament standings in Eastern A this season, but the Eagles shouldn't be taken lightly. They lost 1-0 to once-beaten Hampden this week, giving up a goal in the last five minutes, and followed that with a 6-0 win against Mt. Blue. Earlier this year they lost in overtime to once-beaten Bangor.
"Our guys are just clicking together at the right time," Messalonskee coach Tom Sheridan said. "It was a huge effort by our backs (against Mt. Blue)."
Senior Connor Leonard and junior Kieran Sherman are the center backs flanked by seniors Josh Allarie and Peter Littefield. And junior Jonah Webb has played well in goal.
Sheridan said senior Ryan Erskine usually has a hand in everything the Eagles do offensively while freshman Brandon Nale has proven to be a good finisher. Messalonskee has a key game against Edward Little on Tuesday and point-worthy games remaining down the stretch against Bangor and Lewiston, both at home.
"It's very even in the East this year," Sheridan said. "One day to the next, who knows."
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The Valley boys are clinging to the eighth and final spot in Western D, but the way the Cavaliers (5-5-0) are playing lately, they could move up. Tuesday they avenged a 4-1 loss at home against Buckfield by beating the Bucks 2-1 on the road. Coach Kathy Sweet attributes some of the improvement to the progress of goalie Cody Beane who is playing his first year at the position.
"(Tuesday) was his 10th game," Sweet said. "He's gaining confidence."
Sophomore Colin Miller and senior Andrew Marden have given the team solid midfield play while Cody Laweryson has been a spark for the offense.
The Cavs play at Searsport on Saturday before finishing the season against three top teams at home in Greenville, Pine Tree and Richmond.
"I would love to win three out of four," Sweet said.
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The Mt. Blue girls were 3-4-1 and a spot out of tournament contention heading into Thursday's game against Messalonskee. The Cougars are playing well and out-shooting many of their opponents but not scoring a lot of goals.
"We're unable to play a complete game right now," Mt. Blue coach Fred Conlogue said. "We're struggling to get numbers up in the box to get shots."
Center halfback Hope Thompson has been a playmaker for the Cougars while leading scorer Miranda Nicely and sophomore Eryn Doiron are solid up front. The defense is young and improving.
"The veterans have been doing a good job getting the younger player to their level," Conlogue said.
The Cougars play another key game Saturday at home against Cony.
Gary Hawkins -- 621-5638