With a coach who believed in them and players who believed in themselves, the Messalonskee girls soccer team snapped a long losing streak this week with a 3-0 win against Brewer. The Eagles followed that with a 5-3 win against Lawrence and suddenly they’re thinking about their tournament prospects in Eastern Maine Class A.

“To be honest I thought they had the talent there,” Messalonskee coach Penny Stansfield said. “The game against Cony (a 7-3 loss), they started to believe in themselves.”

The Eagles went 0-14-0 last season and began this one with four straight losses. Stansfield, in her first year as head coach, brings a wealth of experience to the job. She’s director of coaching at Central Maine United, which features boys and girls travel and premier team, and also works at All Pro Sports in Waterville. Prior to that she coached a high school team on Long Island for several years, leading it two state championship appearances. She also played Div. I soccer for Hofstra University.

When she was approached by a parent of a Central Maine United player to coach the team she jumped at the chance after learning of its recent struggles.

“It was the biggest challenge to me as a coach,” she said. “When I talked to the parents a the beginning of the year I promised them I’d bring fun back to the sport. Two wins and the girls are talking about playoffs and it’s just great to hear.”

Stansfield also made a promise to herself to remain positive before and after games and she’s kept it. The Eagles have an excellent scorer in junior Kassidi McPherson but she’s been closely marked the past two seasons. This season she has some help up front from freshman McKenna Brodeur, like McPherson, a tall player who has a knack for the net.

“Before the Lawrence game (McPherson) said ‘Coach they usually put four players on me,’ ” Stansfield said. “I said now we have McKenna and they will have to pay attention to her as well.”

McPherson got free to score three goals in the win against Lawrence while Brodeur scored two.

“They started to believe in themselves,” Stansfield said of her team. “Once you can break something like that (losing streak) good things can happen.”

* * *

The Waterville boys soccer team had a couple of good rivals when it played in Class A in nearby teams from Lawrence and Messalonskee. Now that the Purple Panthers have dropped to Class B, they have a new rival in Winslow.

That rivalry played out earlier this week when the Eastern B opponents played to a scoreless tie on the turf at Thomas College. They meet again Tuesday in Winslow.

“That’s going to be our new rival,” Waterville coach Kerry Serdgenian said. “They were a classy team. I thought they had great sportsmanship. They played hard but it was a clean game.”

Waterville is 4-2-1 following Thursday’s loss against Mt. View. Serdjenian believes his strategy will change when the teams play on grass at Winslow. The Panthers were unable to play on their home grass field because a natural spring has bubbled up at one end and typically floods 30 or 40 feet of it.

“Playing on grass at Winslow will be good for us come Tuesday,” he said. “I think they have a little more direct style of play than us.Serdgenian also figures to change his strategy Tuesday by going more toward the outside of the field.

“We were trying to go straight down the middle,” he said. “It didn’t create any scoring for us.”

Against Winslow, the Purple Panthers welcomed back senior midfielder Tommy Samson who missed the first six games of the season. Samson was second on the team in scoring last season and gives the team some needed punch.

* * *

The Nokomis girls have three players back this season who missed all or most of last year with tore anterior cruciate ligaments in their knees. Kelsie and Kylie Richards and Sierra Fortin all tore ACLs last season during soccer games. This year the three seniors are back in the lineup and playing on the front line.

Coach Gary Sinclair hopes they can translate scoring opportunities into goals. So far, the Warriors are 2-3-1 and had a chance to win every game with the exception of Waterville.

“(Waterville) and Hermon are the two top teams in (Class) B this year,” Sinclair said.

Center midfielder Audrey Temple has been playing well, but suffered a concussion and will likely miss Saturday’s homecoming game against Winslow. Fullback Natasha Howard and stopper Anna McKenzie, both seniors, have also played well.

“We need to bust out,” Sinclair said. “We need to have a game where we’re finishing. We’re getting a lot of shots right now.”

Now in his second year, Sinclair put together an ambitious summer schedule of 14 games. Sixty girls came out for the team and at least 20 have made a commitment to play indoor soccer this winter.

“That’s something they haven’t done in the past,’ he said.

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

[email protected]


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