The Winslow boys soccer team may match or improve last year’s regular-season record of 10-1-3 despite the graduation of 30-goal scorer Gabe Smith.

The Black Raiders opened the season with four straight shutouts and have outscored opponents 22-0 heading into today’s game against Leavitt. They return one of the top goalkeepers in the Class B division of the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference in junior Alex Berard, but so far he’s been well protected.

“It’s been more of our defense,” Winslow coach Aaron Wolfe said. “He hasn’t been tested too much yet. The shots he’s seen he’s taken care of.”

Wolfe uses Connor Wildes, Braden Maillet, Cody Doughty, Dakota Herman and Harrison Clark in the four defensive positions and all of them played last season. The greatest surprise has been the offense.

“We have 11 different players who have scored,” Wolfe said. “That’s really tough for other teams to defend. We don’t have a Gabe Smith this year.”

After Leavitt, the Black Raiders play Waterville in two of the next three games, beginning Tuesday at Waterville. The Purple Panthers dropped from Class A to B this season and are considered one of the teams to beat. The fact that the schools are just a couple of miles apart enhances the game.

“We haven’t played them in the regular season,” Wolfe said “Just naturally it is a rivalry. They’re probably the best team we’ll play so far.”

Wolfe was hired to coach late last summer and got some on the job training. This season he feels more comfortable.

“I feel like I’m a much better coach this year,” he said. “It started in the summer. The kids knew what I expected of them. Last year we kind of got to know each other.”

* * *

The Winslow girls lost their two top scorers in Alliyah Veilleux, who graduated, and Pilar Elias, who transferred to Waterville, but the Black Raiders have played well so far. They’re 2-1-0 heading into today’s game at Leavitt and their only loss was a 1-0 decision to Morse on a penalty kick.

Sophomore goalkeeper Hillary Libby recorded nine shutouts last season and has an experienced defense in front of her.

“We play clean but we play strong,” Winslow coach Shawn Carey said. “We are very physical.”

Carey plays a flat four on defense, rotting a group that includes Krista Moody, Meg Nadeau, Jordan Labrie, Kianna Richards, Emma Saleta and Kristina Alofotuli, all of whom played last year. The offense is more spread out this season and has accounted for seven goals so far.

“We’ve played really solid,” Carey said. “We go to the goal hard.”

The Black Raiders host Waterville and Elias, who already has 16 goals, Tuesday.

“If there’s a game anyone wants to se it should be that one,” Carey said.

* * *

The Madison girls were 3-0-1 heading into Thursday’s game against unbeaten Hall-Dale. A year ago, they got off to a slow start and squeaked into the playoffs at 6-8-0.

“I feel really good about this start,” Madison coach Mike Herrick said. “Any time you can have a good record right away it takes off pressure for the rest of the season.”

Goalie Savanna Kandiko, a four-year starter, has been a key to the Bulldogs’ fast start.

“(She’s) been playing out of her mind,” Herrick said. “She’s improved so much, her understanding of the game, her positioning. A lot of times she makes saves that look like the other team kicked it right to her.”

Sophomore forward Kayla Bess is also off to a good start with seven goals, after scoring just three last season. Herrick attributes the scoring increase to confidence and the fact senior Kirsten Wood plays up front with her.

“It’s a great group of kids,” Herrick said. “We had a great summer. The girls really buy into our system of play.”

* * *

Erskine girls soccer coach Ryan Nored is still learning about opponents as his Eagles adjust to Class B this season after a few years in Class A. Otherwise, the transition has been a smooth one as the Eagles are 3-1-0 heading into today’s game against Nokomis.

“The stronger teams are still as good as some of the teams we played last year,” Nored said. “Right now the biggest difference is field conditions. There’s some bad fields out there.”

The Eagles may be deeper than most of the teams they play. Nored is carrying 17 players and all are getting significant minutes.

“It’s not really by design,” he said. “I’ve got 11 solid starters and six solid substitutes,” Nored said. “I can sub in and there’s no letdown.”

Erskine’s depth is such that when senior goalie Mattie Lajoie went out with a concussion, sophomore Cassandra Ray stepped in and the team didn’t miss a beat.

“They’re both pretty equal,” Nored said.

Senior striker Jade Canak has drawn a lot of attention from defenders and only has two goals so far, but that’s opened up opportunities for Tasha Dutil and Avery Bond.

“Jade has realized that,” Nored said. “She’s bought into the idea. That’s how we scored against Mt. View. She’s just as happy letting everybody else score.”

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

[email protected]

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