Monmouth Academy girls soccer coach Gary Trafton wasn’t quite sure where his team was headed until it faced Class A Lewiston in a preseason game and came away with a 3-1 victory.

“The girls were like ‘Whoa,’ ” Trafton said. “They killed us last year.”

The Mustangs opened the regular season with a 3-1 win against Mountain Valley and followed that with a 4-3 double-overtime decision against Dirigo, one of the preseason favorites in the Mountain Valley Conference.

“The kids have been doing a lot of the things we’ve been preaching for the last five years,” Trafton said. “The kids coming off the bench are skilled and we’re possessing the ball better than we ever have. We controlled a lot of the play (against Dirigo).”

It doesn’t hurt to have Kylie Kemp in the lineup, either. The junior forward has scored all seven goals for the Mustangs this season, including the game-winner on a breakaway against Dirigo. A strong three-sport athlete, Kemp scored 18 goals last season and looks a cinch to top that this fall.

“She’s gotten more mature this year,” Trafton said. “She has more confidence in herself and she’s older.”

Kemp has also worked on her skills.

“She finds the areas to get through and she has good footwork,” Trafton said. “And she does have a good shot.”

The Mustangs play at Carrabec today and should get a good test against Madison at home Friday.

• • •

The Oak Hill girls are off to a 2-0 start after beating Spruce Mountain 2-1 and Telstar 4-0.

“I’m really excited,” Oak Hill coach Nicole Camire said. “They’re really starting to come together as a team and as a program. Mostly last year were chemistry issues. We just didn’t click as a team. This year is a huge difference.”

The Raiders, who remain in Class B, moved to predominantly Class C Mountain Valley Conference this fall. It’s helped boost their confidence and cut down on travel, too. They host Mountain Valley today before playing two tough opponents in Monmouth and Hall-Dale.

• • •

The Cony boys have already equaled last year’s win total by winning their first two games, against Mt. Blue and Skowhegan.

“It’s a better start but it doesn’t mean anything yet,” Cony coach Jon Millett said. “We play Erskine on Saturday. That will be a good benchmark for us.”

The Rams so far have had four different goal scorers, a good sign since last year’s leading scorer, Chris Paradis, has yet to suit up.

“He had emergency hernia surgery,” Millett said. “He’s coming back next week.”

The defense, anchored by sweeper Luke Dang and goalkeeper Brandon Elwell, is the team’s strength.

• • •

The Gardiner girls bounced back from a tough Class A round-robin in preseason as well as a loss to Cony to beat Lincoln Academy 8-1 in its season opener.

“We put everything behind us,” Gardiner coach Chad Kirk said. “We forgot about it.”

Kirk also changed his formation so he could employ a double stopper and release his fullback wings.

“We always have three in the back,” he said. “But when I’m playing (defense) I have five.”

As she did last year against Lincoln, junior Ally Day scored five goals. Last season Day bounced between playing goalkeeper and striker until Maddie Cutler took over in goal. Kirk hasn’t ruled out playing Day in goal depending on the situation but it’s tough to take her out of the field.

“She’s so physical,” Kirk said. “I can’t believe she’s only a junior. It makes matchup problems for everyone.”

Midfielder Kylee Granholm assisted on several of Day’s goals and helped generate much of the Tigers’ offense.

“I was impressed,” Kirk said.

• • •

The Richmond girls were rarely tested last season en route to winning the Class D state championship. They got a good test, though, in their season opener, beating Class C Old Orchard Beach 2-1.

“They’re a good club,” Richmond coach Troy Kendrick said. “I’s good for us to pick up those teams out of the Western Maine Conference. Win or lose we’ve got to play those games.. They just make us better.”

Kendrick was impressed with the play of sophomore goalie Kelsi Obi who is taking over this season following four years of Lindsy Hoopingarner in net.

“She kept us in the game a few times,” he said. “She picked off a few crosses in traffic. She made seven or eight saves but they were quality saves.”

Senior midfielder Sadie Gosse had a goal and an assist for the Bobcats. Last season she scored 12 goals and had 22 assists.

“Most times she’s the best player on the field,” Kendrick said. “She has a real good feel for the game.”

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

[email protected]


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