The Richmond boys soccer team is in the midst of its toughest stretch of the season, having lost its last two games to Buckfield and North Yarmouth Academy with Class C Traip Academy scheduled for Tuesday.

The Class D Bobcats are 4-2-0 following Tuesday’s 5-0 loss to Class C power NYA. Prior to that they lost to East/West Conference opponent Buckfield, 1-0, their first loss to the Bucks in several seasons.

“This is kind of a scheduling nightmare,” Richmond coach Joe Scribellito said. “But it is what it is.”

Scribellito said his young team was intimidated by NYA in the first half, but settled down and played much better in the second half. He added the junior varsity won 3-0.

“In the second half we matched them in shots,” he said. “You take those little victories and build on them.”

Against Buckfield, Richmond had several opportunities but couldn’t capitalize, then made a defensive mistake to allow a goal. The Bobcats get another shot at the Bucks next Thursday in Richmond.

“There’s not a game my kids are looking forward to more than that one right now,” Scribellito said.

Scribellito said he plans to add some scoring punch up front against Traip, a team that lost just 2-0 to NYA.

“Right now we’re struggling to find that finisher,” he said. “We are just going to simplify things a little bit for them. With the young kids we have they’re still learning. As far as expectations you have to temper them. You have to concentrate on teaching.”

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Monmouth senior Kyle Fletcher entered the season with 51 career goals, most of them hard-earned since he has been the Mustangs’ lone scoring threat most of the past three seasons. Fletcher has nine goals this season but also has some help from Josh Reny (five goals), Noah Bates, Josh Neal and Hunter Richardson. Fletcher also has nine assists this season.

“He’s changed his game a little bit,” Monmouth coach Joe Fletcher said. “He’s looking to get assists as well as goals.”

The Mustangs (4-1-0) lost 1-0 to Hall-Dale when junior Nat Crocker scored on a penalty shot with seven seconds left in double overtime.

“It was a heartbreaker to be honest,” Fletcher said. “They outplayed us in the first half, but in the second half we played them to a standstill. Are we as good as them? Maybe not quite as good but we’ve improved a lot.”

Junior goalkeeper Kasey Smith, who has three shutouts so far this season, made 16 saves against the Bulldogs.

“He played outstanding against Hall-Dale,” Fletcher said. “He was pretty mad at himself for not making the save on a penalty kick. Of all our players I think our keeper is the most improved.”

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With a coach who believed in them and players who believed in themselves, the Messalonskee girls soccer team snapped a long losing streak this week with a 3-0 win against Brewer. The Eagles followed that with a 5-3 win against Lawrence and suddenly they’re thinking about their tournament prospects in Eastern Maine Class A.

“To be honest I thought they had the talent there,” Messalonskee coach Penny Stansfield said. “The game against Cony (a 7-3 loss), they started to believe in themselves.”

The Eagles went 0-14-0 last season and began this one with four straight losses. Stansfield, in her first year as head coach, brings a wealth of experience to the job. She’s director of coaching at Central Maine United, which features boys and girls travel and premier team, and also works at All Pro Sports in Waterville. Prior to that she coached a high school team on Long Island for several years, leading it two state championship appearances. She also played Div. I soccer for Hofstra University.

When she was approached by a parent of a Central Maine United player to coach the team she jumped at the chance after learning of its recent struggles.

“It was the biggest challenge to me as a coach,” she said. “When I talked to the parents a the beginning of the year I promised them I’d bring fun back to the sport. Two wins and the girls are talking about playoffs and it’s just great to hear.”

Stansfield also made a promise to herself to remain positive before and after games and she’s kept it. The Eagles have an excellent scorer in junior Kassidi McPherson but she’s been closely marked the past two seasons. This season she has some help up front from freshman McKenna Brodeur, like McPherson, a tall player who has a knack for the net.

“Before the Lawrence game (McPherson) said ‘Coach they usually put four players on me,’ ” Stansfield said. “I said now we have McKenna and they will have to pay attention to her as well.”

McPherson got free to score three goals in the win against Lawrence while Brodeur scored two.

“They started to believe in themselves,” Stansfield said of her team. “Once you can break something like that (losing streak) good things can happen.”

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

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