No team likes to begin the season with a couple of losses, but Winslow girls soccer coach Shawn Carey appeared relatively unfazed after his Black Raiders dropped their first two this fall.

Carey knew it was just a matter of time before his talented freshman class blended with some of his veterans. He just didn’t know how quickly this would develop. After losing those games to Morse and Oceanside by a combined 9-2 score, Winslow went unbeaten in its next 13 games.

The Raiders avenged that Oceanside loss (4-0) with a 4-0 win against those same Mariners in the quarterfinal round of the Eastern Maine Class B tournament. They finished at 12-3-1 overall after going 6-7-2 last season.

For his efforts, Carey has been selected Morning Sentinel Girls Soccer Coach of the Year. Mt. Blue’s Fred Conlogue was also considered.

Eighteen freshmen came out for the team and six to eight played regularly. Winslow lost its opener along with a couple of players to injury in a 5-2 loss to Morse.

“A lot of freshman girls got introduced to physical play,” Carey said.

Carey tinkered with a number of different formations while awaiting the return of injured senior striker Alliyah Veilleux who missed the first five games of the season. By the time Veilleux came back the freshmen had acclimated.

“I think it helped a lot of girls develop faster than they could have,” Carey said.

The Raiders used a 4-5-1 formation when Veilleux returned, putting the rugged senior goal scorer alone up top.

“The 4-5-1 was tailor made for Alliyah,” Carey said. “She’s a very strong physical player,”

After losing to Oceanside, Winslow shut out eight of its final 10 opponents. While Carey placed faith in his young team — there were only three seniors — he also made sure during games that they played hard all the time.

“He knows how to motivate them and pick them up,” assistant coach Lindsay Welch said. “He knows how to connect with the girls. He was intense in a positive way.”

Carey, who teaches at the high school, has a varied coaching background that includes girls lacrosse and boys hockey in Massachusetts and girls hockey at Winslow. He’s also the school’s outdoor and indoor track and field coach, sharing the latter duty with Bob Morison. He has a special affinity for soccer which he learned as a boys assistant coach under Ryan Hurley and current athletic director Carrie Larrabee.

“I was a football player,” Carey said. “If I had the opportunity to go back I’d choose soccer over football. It’s one-on-one competitive.”

Carey is also involved in the youth program and particularly excited about the players coming up through the system.

“This program did cycle down for a little bit and now I think it will cycle up,” he said.

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

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