Three wins in five days last week lifted the Valley boys soccer team into playoff contention with one game remaining in the regular season.

Playing all three games at home, Valley took advantage of the lack of travel, registering a decisive 17-2 goal total to improve to 8-5. The Cavaliers will travel to Pine Tree Academy (7-2-1) in Freeport for their regular-season finale today.

“At the start of the season we were playing to the level of our opponents,” Valley coach Kattie Sweet-Shibles said. “Against Buckfield we finally came around.”

East-West Conference rival Buckfield was the first win of the week, a 5-1 triumph, followed by a 10-1 win over Highview Christian Academy and a 2-0 victory against Isleboro.

“The kids are excited about being over .500,” Sweet-Shibles said, “and that we have a chance to play in the tournament.”

The teams only two seniors have given the Cavaliers leadership and strong play. Carrington Miller and Josh West have been working together well on the field while remaining positive during Valley’s surge up the standings.

Juniors Stone Ellis and Andrew Marden, along with a host of talented freshmen, have helped the Cavaliers revive a program that was close to being dropped a few years ago when numbers were extremely low. Boys and girls have been playing on the same team while the numbers have been consistently growing the past couple of seasons.

Freshman goalkeeper Collin Miller earned the shutout against Isleboro while freshmen Cody Lawyerson and Charlie Savoy have been solid in the middle. Sophomores Amanda Landry and Jaclyn Beatrice have added strength and quality.

“A real key was having a couple of kids really understand we had to use every minute of practice to get better,” Sweet-Shibles said. “That’s when we started to take off.”

* * *

Cam DesPres scored off a Colton Morin pass late in the game to help the Skowhegan boys soccer team earn a 1-1 tie against Cony last week.

It was the first time since 2009 for Skowhegan to claim a non-loss.

* * *

While all three teams will make the playoffs, this week’s series of games between the Lawrence, Waterville and Hampden boys soccer teams makes for an interesting run out of the regular season.

No. 7 Waterville (5-3-3) plays at No. 4 Hampden (5-1-4) Tuesday, Hampden gets on the bus the following day and travels to No. 8 Lawrence (3-5-3), and Thursday, Lawrence plays at nearby Waterville. At stake will be homefield for a preliminary round of the playoffs.

“For us it could mean finishing as high as No. 5 or No. 6 or as low as No. 10,” Lawrence coach Bob Towne said. “We need to get a result in one of the games.”

Rain last week forced the scheduling situation with not many options of days where makeups could be played.

“All three teams go after it pretty hard,” Towne said. “We are just getting healthy and getting back to where we are moving the ball better.”

For the Bulldogs, injuries have played a major role throughout the season. Getting healthy for the playoffs has been a key issue for Lawrence because when the Bulldogs are solid, they have played with anyone in the league.

“Health is our key,” Towne said. “We just need to stay that way for the playoffs because we are a team in contention.”

* * *

The Mt. Blue girls have been battling to stay in or above the No. 8 position in Eastern A, hoping to host a preliminary round playoff game. Monday, the Cougars were dealt a severe blow losing 4-0 to Bangor in Farmington.

“We are definitely an up and down team,” Mt. Blue coach Fred Conlogue said. “We are finally healthy but we give up too many soft goals.”

Three games remain on Mt. Blue’s schedule: Lewiston away, Skowhegan home and Erskine at home in the regular-season finale, a game that appears to be crucial for Mt. Blue.

“Erskine is a game that will decide if we go away or stay home in the first round of the playoffs,” Conlogue said. “We could be home for a preliminary round game. That is something we need.”

A major issue for Mt. Blue this season has been a lack of goal scoring in big games. The Cougars have scored just eight goals against teams heading to the playoffs.

“We need to get the ball into the penalty area with numbers and get shots at the goal,” Conlogue said. “We are starting to get the ball up. The last three games we’ve been starting to do that, now we need to put shots on goal.”

 

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