AUGUSTA — The high school soccer playoff fields were finalized Wednesday morning, and the pursuit of the Gold Ball begins Friday with preliminary round contests for boys and girls teams around the state.

The Maranacook, Monmouth and Richmond boys all earned No. 1 seeds for their respective regional tournaments, while the Monmouth and Richmond girls will enter the postseason as the top-ranked teams in their brackets.

The Maranacook boys finished with a 13-0-1 record for the top spot in Class B South. The Black Bears will host a quarterfinal round game next Tuesday against the winner of No. 8 Lincoln and No. 9 Freeport.

“Its huge. It’s home. We’ve got that 12th guy, and that’s our home crowd because people show up for our games,” Maranacook coach Don Beckwith said. “Nice to have this for my kids. We don’t get a lot of recognition in the south.”

The Black Bears play Winslow in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B championship game Thursday, a nice game to have to break up what would have been a week-long layoff before the playoffs.

“I think I’ll have my horses ready. We’re OK,” Beckwith said. “We don’t play enough good teams consistently to realize how good we are. Can we put a four-game run in? I don’t know. We don’t have those four-game runs we have to show up for during the regular season.”

Also in B South, No. 5 Carrabec/Madison hosts No. 12 Morse in the preliminary round.

In Class B North, the Erskine boys enter as the No. 6 seed and will host No. 11 MCI in a preliminary round game at noon on Saturday, while No. 8 Waterville is set to host No. 9 Hermon in a prelim game at 3 p.m. Friday.

No. 2 Winslow (13-0-1) will host either No. 7 Mt. Desert Island or No. 10 Old Town in the quarterfinals.

In Class C South, No. 1 Monmouth (11-1-2) is set to host the winner of a prelim between No. 8 Sacopee Valley and No. 9 Mt. Abram in the quarterfinals.

“It was a goal we set at the beginning of the year, to host as many playoff games as possible,” Monmouth coach Joe Fletcher said. “We’re comfortable with our field, and we know it’s a challenging field to play on. It worked out for us.”

The Mustangs are on track to meet the winner of another quarterfinal between No. 4 Hall-Dale and No. 5 North Yarmouth Academy in the regional semifinals. The Bulldogs host NYA next Tuesday at 2:30 p.m.

“We were talking about it the other day,” Fletcher said. “We really haven’t peaked yet. Hopefully, we’ll peak here over these next couple of games.”

In A North, No. 6 Messalonskee (8-4-2) will play at No. 3 Mt. Ararat (12-2-0) in the quarterfinals.

In Class D South, Richmond (13-1-0) enters as the top seed, while Rangeley begins prelim play at No. 10.

GIRLS

Defending Class D state champion Richmond (13-1-0) begins its title defense out of the top spot in Class D South again this season.

“We’ve been fortunate enough to snag that position at times,” Richmond coach Troy Kendrick said of the No. 1 seeding. “It’s kind of a double-edge sword in our classification, because now we get such a long layoff. You’re rolling along, playing well, and then it stops for a week and a half or two weeks. The challenge is always trying to keep the kids sharp, keep them focused during the time off.”

After an impressive 2-0 win over Buckfield in their season finale, the Bobcats will play Monmouth in a scrimmage on Friday to try and stay sharp in the midst of a bye straight into the regional semifinals.

“We had talked the last couple of games, we’ve been a little out of sorts,” Kendrick said. “We talked about having to face some adversity a little bit. People just aren’t going to hand things to you, and you have to work through some things. I liked how we finished up at Buckfield. I like that we’re a second half team.”

In Class A North, No. 6 Messalonskee will play at No. 3 Brunswick in a quarterfinal round game next week, while No. 10 Lawrence will play a prelim game at No. 7 Hampden Academy.

In Class B North, the Erskine girls went 10-2-2 to earn the sixth seed and will host No. 11 MCI at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Waterville (14-0-0) — which has not allowed a goal in an eight-game span dating back to Sept. 17 — opens the B North tournament as the No. 2 seed and will host either No. 7 Nokomis or No. 10 Lee/Stearns in the quarterfinals. Nokomis and Lee/Stearns play their prelim on Friday afternoon.

Also in B North, Gardiner secured the 13th and final playoff berth and will travel to No. 4 Caribou (10-3-1) in the prelims, while No. 9 Winslow travels to No. 8 John Bapst.

In B South, No. 6 Oak Hill hosts Fryeburg in the prelims, while No. 10 Maranacook travels to Freeport.

In Class C South, Monmouth and Madison split their two regular season games and go into the C South playoffs as the first and second seeds, respectively. Both teams are 13-1-0.

Monmouth will play either No. 9 Hall-Dale or No. 8 Wiscasset in the quarterfinals. Madison will face either No. 7 Mt. Abram or No. 10 Boothbay..

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

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Twitter: @TBarrettGWC