The Waterville girls and boys soccer teams will play in Class B this season after playing up a class in Class A for eight years.

Because of declining enrollment, Waterville dropped from Class A to Class B in the fall of 2005 in almost every sport. The two soccer teams continued to play up, however, and continued to enjoy success. The boys made appearances in the playoffs, while the girls won the Class A state title in 2008 and were state runner-up in 2007.

The Waterville girls open the season Sept. 6 at home against Nokomis, while the boys will travel to Newport to take on Nokomis that same day. The Waterville boys have preseason exhibition games scheduled against old Class A rivals Lawrence and Messalonskee, and also will play in a round robin at Lewiston on Saturday. The girls have exhibitions scheduled against Class A Cony and Cheverus, and travel to Cumberland on Saturday to take on Greely.

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After a few seasons with low participation numbers, the Gardiner Area High School field hockey team will have more players out when it begins practice this morning for the upcoming season.

Head coach Moe McNally said she expects 42 players when the Tigers start practice at 8:30 a.m.

“We have a large freshman class coming,” McNally said.

That class, combined with strong leadership from returning players, has McNally excited. “We’ve got high expectations in Tiger Town this year.”

Former Gardiner standout Becca Paradee, now a junior on the University of Maine field hockey team, worked with Gardiner players earlier this summer. The Tigers spent a lot of time in the offseason working on skill development, McNally said.

“They’ve attacked the skills and drills sessions with determination. You can see it in their eyes. They have the same expectations that I do,” McNally said.

Gardiner will take part in a play day at Winslow on Saturday.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

tlazarczyk@centralmaine.com