While the Kents Hill boys soccer team is loaded with international players, the Kents Hill girls are primarily comprised of home-grown talent.
All but five of the 18 players on the team are from Maine, including several from central Maine. There are a couple of players from Canada, including talented center midfielder Danielle Bourgeois from Fredericton, New Brunswick, two are from California and one from Germany. But the fortunes of the team will rest largely on the success of the Maine contingent.
So far, coach Steve Bell likes what he’s seen. The Huskies lost their season opener 2-1 to a talented New Hampton team, but were missing several players to injury or illness, including both starting center mids, and last year’s leading scorer, Joanna Christopher.
“If we get everybody healthy we’ll do well in our league,” Bell said.
The Huskies compete in the Maine Association of Independent School Athletic Directors (MAISAD) and are also eligible for post-season play in the New England Prep School Athletic Conference (NEPSAC). The loss to New Hampton hurts their NEPSAC chances — only eight teams are chosen from among 58 schools — but they did win the title four years ago which should help.
Junior striker Sara Grenier, who led Messalonskee High School in scoring last season, is among the new players. She scored the lone goal against New Hampton and four more in a three-game jamboree.
“She’s been a big addition to our team,” Bell said. “She’s a great leader.”
Junior Marissa Tarrio of Augusta plays sweeper while senior Caroline Tortorella of Manchester is a midfielder. Sophomore Natalie Palmer is from Readfield, while freshman Riley Kirk, daughter of Gardiner girls soccer coach Chad Kirk, plays midfield and defense. Katie Connelly of Vassalboro, who was voted team captain, is currently out with a concussion.
The Huskies defeated three of their MAISAD opponents in the jamboree but have yet to see Hyde School, who they play today.
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The Richmond girls were tested in their season opener, beating Class C Old Orchard Beach 2-1, but have coasted since, outscoring their opponents 58-0. The two-time defending Class D champs expect more competition over the second half of the season, beginning with Thursday’s game against Eastern Maine Class D opponent Bangor Christian (6-2-0). The Bobcats (8-0-0) play Bangor Christian twice over their final six games and also host perennial Class C power Waynflete on Oct. 6.
“They’ll be good measuring sticks to see where we’re at,” Richmond coach Troy Kendrick said.
The Bobcats have piled up some impressive statistics so far. Senior Noell Acord leads the team in scoring with 16 goals while sophomore Amber Loon has 11. Senior midfielder Sadie Gosse, who has 16 assists, has set up many of those goals.
The Bobcats return nearly all their players from last year’s championship team minus scorer Danica Hurley and goalkeeper Lindsy Hoopingarner, both of whom are playing in college.
“The supporting cast over the last couple of years have kind of stepped it up,” Kendrick said, pointing out that senior midfielders Payton Johnson, Taylor Clapp and Andra Meagher are playing together for their third straight season.
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Erskine girls coach Ryan Nored expected his team to improve rapidly as the season progressed based on talent.
“We’re very, very athletic,” he said. “(At first) we were more along the lines of kick it and run soccer. If we can control it, we can play with just about anybody.”
The Eagles were 3-3-1 entering a big week that included games against Lawrence and Waterville. They’ve played well of late in tying Mt. Blue and shutting out Oxford Hills.
“We just absolutely played keep-away from them,” Nored said of the 4-0 win against Oxford Hills.
The Eagles are loaded with sophomores and juniors but two of the key players this season have been seniors Bridget Humphrey and Kelly McCormack. Humphrey plays sweeper and can quickly step into the offense.
“She might be the most athletic kid I’ve ever had,” he said. “She makes things look easy. McCormack plays center midfield and is the team’s leader.
“She runs the show,” Nored said. “She sees the field better than I do. She finds holes which opens up the game for my strikers.”
Around the state . . . The Brunswick girls snapped Bangor’s 25-game win streak with a 2-1 overtime victory in Bangor last week. Bangor has played in the last two Class A state championship games, winning it last year, while Brunswick won the title in 2009 . . . The Falmouth and Yarmouth boys played to a 2-2 tie Saturday. Of the last 12 Class B state championships, Falmouth has won eight and Yarmouth four . . . According top the website SportsInMe.com., Madawaska’s Ian Lee leads the state in goals with 27 while Van Buren’s Parise Rosignol is tops among girls with 23. Richmond’s Sadie Gosse leads in assists with 16.
Gary Hawkins — 621-5638