After breezing through its first four games, the Richmond girls soccer team lost to Class C Sacopee Valley 4-2 last Saturday. Although losses are tough to take, the competition is a must for the three time defending Class D state champion Bobcats.

“I always tell the girls, win or lose, we’ve got to play these games,” Richmond coach Troy Kendrick said. “(The Western Maine Conference) is a very competitive league. We usually set the pace in games. On Saturday we were struggling to keep up with them.”

The Bobcats play Class C Old Orchard at the end of the season and have an exhibition game against Hebron Academy next week. They had outscored their Class D opponents 30-0 heading into Thursday’s game against Buckfield.

“I’m just trying to stretch my kids,” Kendrick said of the additional games.

The Bobcats graduated several players from last season’s state title squad and only have three seniors on the team, but several of the younger players gained experience last year. Junior Amber Loon and sophomore Kelsea Anair are the leading scorers while Haley Murphy and Autumn Acord have also made significant contributions.

“We’re pretty balanced,” Kendrick said.

One thing the Bobcats lack is overall depth. That will change with the return of senior midfielder Kayla Beaulieu and sophomore defender Kaylah Patterson.

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Erskine girls soccer coach Ryan Nored is still learning about opponents as his Eagles adjust to Class B this season after a few years in Class A. Otherwise, the transition has been a smooth one as the Eagles are 3-1-0 heading into today’s game against Nokomis.

“The stronger teams are still as good as some of the teams we played last year,” Nored said. “Right now the biggest difference is field conditions. There’s some bad fields out there.”

The Eagles may be deeper than most of the teams they play. Nored is carrying 17 players and all are getting significant minutes.

“It’s not really by design,” he said. “I’ve got 11 solid starters and six solid substitutes,” Nored said. “I can sub in and there’s no letdown.”

Erskine’s depth is such that when senior goalie Mattie Lajoie went out with a concussion, sophomore Cassandra Ray stepped in and the team didn’t miss a beat.

“They’re both pretty equal,” Nored said.

Senior striker Jade Canak has drawn a lot of attention from defenders and only has two goals so far, but that’s opened up opportunities for Tasha Dutil and Avery Bond.

“Jade has realized that,” Nored said. “She’s bought into the idea. That’s how we scored against Mt. View. She’s just as happy letting everybody else score.”

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Monmouth senior Kylie Kemp will miss her second straight game today since colliding with St. Dom’s goalkeeper Kelly Pomerleau last week. Kemp suffered a concussion and bruises to her face.

“Her concussion has kind of gone away, but she broke a small bone across her nose and her face is pretty sore,” Monmouth coach Gary Trafton said. “When she does come back, she’s going to have to wear a face protector.”

After today’s game at Dirigo, the Mustangs don’t play again until Sept. 28 which should give Kemp plenty of time to heal. She’s scored six goals this season for a career total of 59, two shy of the school record held by Faith Flannery.

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The Hall-Dale girls were 3-0-0 heading into a crucial game at Madison on Thursday. They have a proven scorer in senior Maura Stottler but in a couple of their games already the Bulldogs have had four different players score. Stottler is one of only three seniors on the team, but the Bulldogs were even younger last season and return 19 players from that team.

“Experience helps,” Hall-Dale coach Guy Cousins said. “The majority of the kids played summer ball, some played travel soccer. Even though they’re kind of young they’ve played together.”

Cousins is carrying 22 players and most play in every game. The team’s depth is such, the Bulldogs have been able to overcome injuries to sweeper Allison Crockett (possible stress fracture) and defender Hailey Taker (torn ACL). Olivia Maynard returns in goal but is being pushed by sophomore Kayla Johnson. Cousins is still waiting for his team to put together a full game.

“It’s all about consistency,” he said. “We haven’t even come close to playing 80 minutes.”

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Maranacook is fourth in the Western Maine Class C standings despite a 1-2-2 record. That’s due in part to the Class B schedule the Black Bears play.

“I’m hoping that playing a B schedule will help us in (Class) C,” Maranacook girls coach Mike Morin said. “I think this year B is very strong.”

The Bears lost to Waterville and Morse, two of the top teams in Class B, but Morin said their play was inconsistent.

“They’re good, but we spent more time watching them play.”

Maranacook has a couple of seniors led by versatile Sara Beckwith, but most of the team played last season and will be back next season..

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

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