With its win against Wiscasset last week, Hall-Dale squeaked past St. Dominic into the top spot in the Western Maine Class C tournament standings. With the regular season over, that assures the Bulldogs of home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Being at home not only means no road trips it also means familiarity with one’s own field.

“In comparison with a lot of teams in our conference, it’s a large field,” Hall-Dale coach Andy Haskell said.

That helps a team like the Bulldogs who play a possession game and have a lot of speed. Haskell also employs several reserves and a large field can wear down opponents who have a thin bench, especially in the second half.

The Bulldogs do have at least one more road game tonight when they play St. Dom’s for the Mountain Valley Conference championship at 7:30 p.m. at Wiscasset High School. Both teams finished at 13-0-1 during the regular season and played to a 1-1 tie in Auburn on Oct. 1. Haskell considers it much more than an exhibition game although it has no bearing on the tournament standings.

“Any game that has championship ramifications we play to win,” he said. “Both teams are familiar with each other. The guys are eager to play them again.”

The Bulldogs have 15 or 16 quality players on their team. Two that have emerged late in the season are senior Wyatt Rush and junior Steven Longfellow.

“Wyatt’s done an outstanding job at defensive midfield and Steven has three goals in the last couple of games, ” Haskell said. “He and Wyatt have most recently stepped up their play.”

• • •

Maranacook girls coach Mike Morin’s defensive style of play has paid off for the Black Bears this season.

Going into Tuesday’s game against Winslow, Maranacook (7-3-3) had allowed nine goals in 13 games. The Black Bears have also registered nine shutouts including three scoreless ties. The most goals they’ve allowed in one game is four, against Nokomis, when a few starters were missing including goalkeeper Elizabeth DiAngelo.

“The (goals) that have scored on us have been from direct kicks and things other than normal play,” Morin said.

Morin employs five fullbacks instead of the usual four that many teams use and said his players have bought into the system.

“You can’t beat us if you can’t score,” he said. “That’s the theory behind the defense. If somebody scores on us we change things up a little bit.”

The Black Bears are one of the youngest teams in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conferences Class B division with just three seniors on their roster.

“I have two freshmen who have really fit in well,” Morin said, in reference to midfielder Lindsey Perkins and stopper Catherine Sanborn.

• • •

The Cony girls hope to have junior Hayley Quirion in the lineup for Friday’s prelim against a yet to be determined opponent. Quirion has missed the last four games after suffering a broken nose playing fall basketball. Quirion also missed most of preseason with a broken nose sustained playing summer basketball.

“We’re hoping she’s back for the prelim game,” Cony coach Jeff Hersey said. “She’ll try to practice this week and wear a protective device.”

Quirion had scored three goals and registered six assists playing center midfield for the Rams this season. Senior Josie Lee moved from forward to center mid in her absence and gave the Rams a physical presence at that position. Lindsey Folsom and Annie Brannigan rotated in Lee’s spot in the forward line.

“We’ll see where she fits,” Hersey said of Quirion’s return. “We need everybody in there to be successful.”

• • •

Two transfers from central Maine high schools are leading the Kents Hill girls on the forward line this fall. Junior Sara Grenier, who attended Messalonskee last year, has seven goals and two assists to lead the Huskies (3-2-1) in scoring. Sophomore Faith Forsythe joined the team at the beginning of the month after transferring from Lawrence and has a goal and an assist in three games.

“They’re starting to get used to each other,” Kents Hill coach Steve Bell said of his two strikers. “They’re both really coachable and hard workers. They fit really well.”

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

[email protected]

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