When Paul “P.J.” Vicneire talks about having patience, one can’t be entirely sure if he’s talking about his soccer philosophy or the approach he took to building the Carrabec/Madison boys soccer team this season. Whatever it is, though, it worked.

Faced with uncertain numbers in the preseason and a daunting Class B classification, the Cobras went 9-4-3, made an appearance in the Mountain Valley Conference championship game and earned the No. 5 seed in the loaded Class B South regional tournament bracket. For his efforts, Vicneire has been named the Morning Sentinel Boys Soccer Coach of the Year.

“Our concept was to play hard, play fast, and don’t think out of the box,” Vicneire said. “If it’s not there, don’t force things. The biggest thing was just don’t let the other team score. That was our philosophy. Stay tight and when it’s there, pounce.”

In can be incredibly difficult to get young players to buy into the idea of patience when games are tied late or the ball isn’t bouncing their way. But Vicneire said his Carrabec/Madison team bought in from the beginning.

“They’re very disciplined,” Vicneire said. “The thing about these kids, they’re so coachable. We tried different marking, interchangeable formations, everything, and they did it. Even when we were getting smoked at York (in the regional quarterfinals), they played right until the final whistle.”

With seniors Paul Kaplan and Dustin Crawford, and junior Dylan Willette, Vicneire said the Cobras had the right core pieces with which to build around in the middle of the pitch, where he wanted his strength.

“I really leaned heavily on them, hoping some other kids would feed in off of that,” said Vicneire, adding that the addition of Madison’s Seth Padelford to the team answered any questions they had in goal. “I think that’s really what happened. It sounds bad when you say it, but we weren’t worried about the talented kids. What we needed was one of those other people to step up every day and be competitive.”

Perhaps the best illustration of how good Carrabec/Madison was by season’s end were a pair of losses to Monmouth. The eventual Class C South regional champion Mustangs beat the Cobras 2-1 in the regular season finale and then again 1-0 in the MVC title game.

“They knew we were there,” Vicneire said. “That (MVC) game was our best game of the season. We were playing our best soccer at the end of the year.

“I really have to give a huge thanks to my wife Heidi and to the Willpower strength and conditioning program. They were a huge part of our success. Nothing happens without them.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

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Twitter: @TBarrettGWC