Do you want a prolific goal scorer on your soccer team? It depends whom you ask.

Winthrop boys coach Dave Valle said his team is playing well because everyone is working together.

“Everybody’s pushing everybody else and everybody’s supporting everybody else,” he said. “No one kid’s a star.”

It’s tough to quibble. The Ramblers, who were 2-3-1 going into Tuesday’s game at Spruce Mountain, have already equaled their win total of the past two seasons.

Maranacook girls coach Mike Morin is of the same mindset. His Black Bears are young, and like Winthrop, have spread the scoring around.

“It’s really been a team effort,” Morin said. “There’s no one person you can focus on.”

Hall-Dale girls coach Guy Cousins watched Carylanne Wolfington become one of the deadliest goal scorers in school history the past three years, but now that she’s graduated the dynamic on the field has changed.

“We’ve had a number of players who came through the system and dominated,” Cousins said. “(When you don’t), it really requires everybody to take a look at their role. It shares the responsibility differently. When you have someone who’s dominant it allows some players to sit back and watch.”

Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have someone willing and able to score a big goal when needed. Gardiner’s Ally Day has carried most of the scoring load for the Tigers this season and they’ve played very well. The attention she’s drawn has opened up opportunities for her teammates. Monmouth’s Kylie Kemp has accounted for nearly all the goals for the Mustangs, one of the surprise teams in the Mountain Valley Conference this season. Saturday, she scored the game-winner with seven seconds left in double overtime in a 1-0 win over Mt. Abram.

So which is it?

Team play is paramount in team sports but there’s nothing wrong with a home run hitter or a goal scorer. If you have a horse, you’re happy to ride it. If not, you must share the load.

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Valle likes what he’s seen from his Winthrop team so far. The Ramblers have already faced the two dominant teams in the Mountain Valley Conference in St. Dominic and Hall-Dale (both losses), but have a number of winnable games in front of them.

Valle’s goal at the start of the season was to pay at least .500 soccer and reach the playoffs and he hasn’t backed off.

“We’ve got eight games left,” he said. “My goal is to win five of them. That’s not an unreachable goal.”

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The Hall-Dale girls are 3-2-1 following Monday’s win against Winthrop. The Bulldogs are also coming off a tie at Dirigo on Friday. They’re doing it with one of their youngest teams ever, a squad that includes 13 freshmen.

“We’re a possession oriented team,” Cousins said. “It’s just a matter of learning and developing a style.”

Cousins is playing 20 players a game depending on opponents, but hasn’t forsaken this season for the future. The Bulldogs are in fifth place in the Western Maine class C tournament standings going into today’s home makeup game against Mt. Abram.

“It will be a great contest for us, win or lose,” Cousins said. “We’ve got some great opportunities in front of us, and some great competition.”

Junior Maura Stottler has emerged as a goal scorer and has nine this season.

“She’s been playing the system for a while,” Cousins said. “She and a number of girls have the ability to put the ball in the net.”

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The Maranacook girls are another young team that’s played well so far. The Black Bears were 3-0-1 heading into Tuesday’s home game against Medomak Valley.

“All of my last year’s sophomores have come to play,” Morin said, citing Natalie Wicks, Lillie McLaughlin, Sarah Clough, Sage Hyland and goalkeeper Elizabeth DiAngelo.

Freshmen Catherine Sanborn and Lindsey Perkins have also played well. The team has just two seniors, forward Sydney Gilbert and fullback Ashley Belanger.

“The two seniors have become good captains,” Morin said. “They kind of set the example.”

Morin favors a defensive style and has two solid defenders in front of DiAngelo in Belanger and junior sweeper Sara Beckwith.

“Most of those girls are (playing) 80 minutes a game,” Morin said.

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Maranacook boys coach Don Beckwith knows there are tests looming on his schedule beginning with Saturday’s game at Winslow.

“They do have a terrific kid up top,” Beckwith said of Gabe Smith. “We’ll try to keep him under control as much as possible and let the others beat us.”

The Black Bears were 4-0-0 entering Tuesday’s game at Medomak Valley. The two goals they’ve allowed have come when games have been out of reach and reserves are on the field.

“The five kids who play (defense) haven’t been touched yet,” Beckwith said.

They include goalie A.J. Freeman, Zach Elwell and Cory McSweeney, all seniors, junior Nick Lacasse and freshman Chris Beckwith, the coach’s son. Coach Beckwith has rotated his forwards among Matt Dubois, Alex Tooth, Kody Solmitz and Alec Daigle and all have produced.

“We kind of rotate pretty regularly,” he said. “I’ve probably changed my formation this year more than I have in the last 10 years. They adapt pretty easily. I’ve got kids who are mentally talented, too.”

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Cony girls coach Jeff Hersey knows his Rams will need a key win over one of the second tier of teams in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference to reach the playoffs. Last week, they lost to both Bangor and Brunswick, the top two teams in the conference.

“Bangor is just phenomenal,” Hersey said. “We held them scoreless for almost 60 minutes, then they just exploded. With 13 or 14 minutes, they put five (goals) on the board.”

Freshman Autumn Sudsbury played well against Bangor and coming into her own, Hersey said.

“The girls in front of her have confidence in Autumn,” he said. “They just really work well together.”

Cony was 3-3-0 heading into Tuesday night’s game at Oxford Hills. The Rams have pivotal games left against Hampden, Mt. Blue and Erskine, all at home.

“Those are three games we really want to get,” Hersey said. “I think we’ve improved with our tightness in the back and have been able to defend the middle of the field. The area we need to improve in is putting the ball into the net. We’re not shooting the ball as we need to. We need to be a little more selfish.”

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

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