RICHMOND — As the sun rose above Coughlin Field and the temperature slowly climbed accordingly late Saturday morning, Chip Smith stood on the sidelines directing the Rangeley High School girls soccer team.

The Lakers did what they could to hang with five-time defending regional champion Richmond in the early going, but once the Bobcats got on the scoreboard in the 19th minute they only kept the pressure on from there.

Kelsea Anair — who is closing in on the school’s all-time scoring record — netted a hat trick in the first half Saturday morning as Richmond went on to down Rangeley 5-0 in the Class D South opener for both teams.

For Smith, though, the day was just beginning.

This season he and assistant Danielle Ellis are coaching both the Rangeley boys and girls soccer teams, and next up a similar fate awaited the boys. Richmond, winner of 19 straight and defending Class D champ, got on the scoreboard in the 12th minute en route to dealing the Lakers a 6-0 defeat, the second of the day for Smith.

“You’ve got to wear two caps. You’ve got to let a lot of stuff go,” Smith said of the results. “Our expectations for both teams coming down here was just to play in our system that we’re trying to play. Just pass, communicate, move and most importantly just be good sports. You wear the name of the community on the front of your jersey and that’s the most important thing at the end of the day.”

In many ways Smith’s responsibilities these past few weeks have pulled in opposite directions. Blayke Morin, a returning senior defender on the girls team, noted it has been nice having the two teams function as one.

“It’s fun. It’s a lot easier. (Friday) night we had a team dinner, both teams got together so it’s more of a connection between the teams,” she said. “It’s not separate anymore like it used to be.

“A lot of us have known each other since middle school, some kindergarten. We’ve all played sports together and we all play the next two sports together too. It’s the same group of kids every time.”

The size of Rangeley’s student population has helped the combined effort from the two teams, but Smith admits it has been challenging flipping the switch going from coaching boys to girls and vice versa.

“It’s been a challenge for both boys and girls, and Danielle and myself because we go back-to-back practices. The boys go before the girls so you get this massive change of pace in between.” Smith said. “That’s been my biggest thing. I’ve talked about and relayed to everybody that you have to have different expectations and it’s been hard. The first week it was like ‘oh boy.'”

While at its surface, the final scores Saturday may not have shown progress but Smith said he saw some from both teams. Most importantly, the players seem to be catching on with what he and Ellis are trying to do too.

“When you go from coaching the girls and the boys and then back to the girls and on and off there’s a big difference between athleticism and the standards,” Orrin Mitchell, a senior on the boys team, said. “Being able to hold one team to a standard and then set goals for both teams that are different it can be hard to do.

“I have a lot of respect for him and Ms. Ellis.”

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley

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