The best thing about Oak Hill’s 5-2 record at the midway point of the girls soccer season isn’t just the fact that the Raiders are making a strong case for the playoffs. It’s that their success is making the Raiders hungry for more success, according to head coach Nicole Camire.

“It adds a lot of momentum to practice. They’re upbeat. They work hard in practice. They know that if they work hard, it’s going to pay off,” Camire said following Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Hall-Dale. “We see things in games that we try to work on throughout practice, and when they see the results in the game, it really gets them focused for the next day.”

The Raiders are locking in on their next opponent and usually locking them down as a result. They’ve allowed just 11 goals this season and haven’t given up more than two in any game.

“Our defense has been holding us in games so far this season,” Camire said. “I can’t speak highly enough about Hannah Nadeau at sweeper. She’s just phenomenal. Her speed is great. She comes out of nowhere. Her ball skills… She’s calm in the back of the defense, and it makes a big difference for the rest of the defense.”

The first half of Oak Hill’s schedule was very tough, with Mountain Valley Conference contenders Lisbon, St. Dominic, Monmouth, Carrabec and Hall-Dale included. That gauntlet continues with Friday’s game at Madison to start the second half.

On paper, the schedule gets easier starting next week. But the Raiders know they need to keep piling up wins to secure a playoff spot in Class B South. Two years ago, they finished 8-5-1, but because their opponents in the Class C-dominated MVC are worth fewer Heal points than Class B teams, they didn’t have enough tournament index points to qualify for the postseason.


“Being Class B, we have to try to get as many points as we can. So beating Hall-Dale is a big win for us, because sometimes there aren’t enough points available for us to be able to squeeze into that B tournament,” Camire said.

• • •

The Skowhegan boys were thrilled to get their first victory in 11 years when they blanked Messalonskee, 2-0, on Tuesday, and eager enough for another win that they put the triumph behind them quickly for practice the next day.

“We could have celebrated and had a fun little day, but the boys were ready to go hard. They’re ready to keep it going,” Skowhegan coach Dillon Clark said.

Clark and the Indians say the win was no fluke, and they have plenty of evidence to back up that assertion. Coming off an 0-12-2 season, they started this season believing they could make the Class A North tournament. They showed how serious they were about reaching that goal by giving Camden Hills, which is 6-0-1 so far, all it could handle in a 2-0 loss on opening day.

The Indians suffered a 13-0 setback to a very talented defending regional champion Lewiston team in their next game, but gradually got stronger and stronger in losses to Brunswick, Hampden and Cony.


Last week, they went to Topsham and hung with another perennial playoff team, Mt. Ararat in a 1-0 loss. The sides were tied 0-0 until the 68-minute mark, when the Eagles scored on a goal that ricocheted off a Skowhegan defender.

Undaunted, Skowhegan played another outstanding defensive game Tuesday against Messalonskee. Gavin Patton stopped 13 shots in net to make the two goals by David Rosado stand up.

Patton, a sophomore, filled in as goalie during the 2014 preseason while the Indians’ incumbent goalie decided on whether to commit to the team. When he did, Patton returned to playing in the field for the JV, but impressed Clark enough to get the job this year.

“When he’s on, boy, is he on?” Clark said. “He’s very, very athletic. He’s smart and makes good decisions. He has good hands. He’s deceptive for his size. He’s 5-foot-7, about 150 pounds, but he plays corners and free balls aggressively.”

Center-backs Josh Carey and Spencer Steeves are the backbone of the defense.

Offensively, Clark has a well-kept secret in Rosado, an exchange student from Mexico. Rosado leads the team with seven goals and has meshed well with senior Kyle Dugas in the midfield.


The Indians will go to work on making it two wins in a row on Friday night against winless Oxford Hills. A battle with rival Lawrence, also winless, follows Tuesday in Fairfield.

Regardless of whether Skowhegan ends up making postseason plans or not, Clark, now in his fifth year leading the program, feels the Indians have turned a corner. “It’s been a beautiful thing, feeling like the community’s now backing the program,” Clark said. “At the middle school, the coaches are pushing their boys to understand the basics. They’re getting behind what we’re trying to do. It’s taken five years, but it’s extremely, extremely exciting to see so much hard work in the community paying off.”

• • •

Mount View girls coach David Page admits even he thought his team was being a little ambitious when the players insisted during preseason that not only would the Mustangs make their first playoff appearance in 10 years, but make a deep run in the tournament once they go there.

The Mustangs ended the first half with a 3-3-1 record and Page is starting to see why his girls had such high hopes this season, especially after a week in which they rallied from a 2-0 deficit to defeat Gardiner, 3-2, and a 0-0 tie with unbeaten Winslow, which is ranked No. 1 in Class B North.

“We always knew we had a pretty darn good team. It was just a matter of them actually believing they can compete with these teams,” Page said.


The Mustangs started the season with about a half-dozen players battling nagging injuries. Those players returned to full health and a key tactical decision Page made before the Gardiner game — moving senior Ryleigh Lord from striker to midfield — helped the Mustangs rally after being down two goals in the first 10 minutes against the Tigers.

Three days later, Mount View hosted Winslow and stood toe-to-toe with the KVAC Class B front-runners. Senior goalkeeper Jennifer Nadeau dueled with Winslow’s all-conference goalie, Hillary Libby, through regulation and two overtimes, making 17 saves to preserve the tie.

Nadeau hadn’t played soccer since her freshman year to focus on basketball. When the Mustangs’ incumbent goalie transferred to Maine Central Institute during the off-season, Page thought it would be a long-shot when he asked if she would be interested in returning to play goal. He was surprised when Nadeau said yes.

“We needed to find somebody who we knew was a fine athlete and could do a good job for us quickly, so I reached out to her,” Page said. “She’s an exceptional athlete and really focused.”

Senior Meri Picard and sophomore Katelin Bennett have also been keys to the Mustangs’ success, Page said.

“Meri is one of our top scorers and makes things happen for us offensively,” said Page, whose team has big games against Morse, Lincoln and Belfast coming up in the next week. “Kate is a hard worker who grinds and does all of those things that don’t show up in the stat sheet that you can’t really be successful without.”


• • •

A combination of cooler weather, homecoming crowds and the sense of urgency that accompanies the second half of the season for some teams could give a number of the next week’s games something closer to a playoff atmosphere. The contests with the biggest playoff ramifications could be this weekend. On Friday, Cony travels to Bangor in a boys game that could give the winner an inside track for a bye to the Class A North quarterfinals. Also on Friday, the Oak Hill and Madison girls clash in Madison in a game that will be worth a lot of very valuable Heal points to both teams.

On Saturday, Waterville and Winslow renew their rivalry with a doubleheader on each side of the bridge. The girls game is at 9 a.m. at Waterville’s Webber Field. The boys start at 11 a.m. at Kennebec Savings Bank Field in Winslow.

Barring a third meeting in the playoffs, the winner of each game on Saturday can claim bragging rights for 2015. In their first meeting on Sept. 8, the boys played to a 3-3 tie in Waterville, while the girls settled for a 2-2 deadlock in Winslow.

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