Nokomis coach Sabrina Vaillancourt has a roster filled with returning players yet containing just one senior, which bodes well for next season. But the Warriors are a pretty tough outfit this year, too. They stood at 4-2 in Class B North heading into Tuesday’s game against Spruce Mountain.

Their only losses — each by a goal — came to a pair of unbeaten teams in Gardiner and Belfast.

“Gardiner impressed me with their defense,” Vaillancourt said. “They were just always there. Belfast is very offensive. It was back and forth because of our offensive lines. There were times when we were dominating and (those) could have been our games.”

The Warriors returned 13 players from a team that went 9-5 last season. They also added some key newcomers, including freshman Lauren Burke, who is starting at center mid.

“She’s filling those shoes well,” Vaillancourt said. “She’s also had some key goals.”

Sophomore Alyssah Greene and Olivia Brown, the team’s lone senior, are the two top goal scorers while sophomore Maci Leali and junior goalie Chelsea Crockett are strong defensive players. What Vaillancourt likes most about her teams is its versatility and athleticism.

“My young group of girls is just very talented,” she said. “Most of them play three sports. Three-sport athletes are very strong players.”

The Warriors don’t see Belfast or Gardiner again in the regular season but they have a key matchup against Maine Central Institute on Oct. 6.

• • •

Lawrence has bounced back nicely after graduating eight starters and losing its leading scorer to injury before the year began. The Bulldogs were 4-2 in Class B North entering Tuesday’s game at Leavitt. The Bulldogs’ tough week continues with homes games against Winslow on Thursday and unbeaten Gardiner on Saturday.

“Not only are we young but we’re inexperienced,” coach Shawna Robinson said. “But there’s a lot of talent. Once they realize they can play with (the top) teams they’ll be OK.”

Lawrence lost 1-0 to Nokomis and 4-2 to MCI. Those were the only goals it’s allowed this season — no surprise since defense is the heart of the team. Senior Lauren Lambert plays along the back line with juniors Molly Folsom and Hunter Mercier, while Cassie Poli is the sweeper. They all play in front of first-year goalie Marian Zawistowski.

“I couldn’t ask for her to be playing any better,” Robinson said of Zawistowski.

Robinson said school boosters chipped in to send two high school goalies and the middle school goalie to a summer camp, which has helped a great deal.

The forward line and midfield remains a work in progress but there’s talent there, too, led by freshman Lexi Lewis and sophomore Nora Buck.

“We’re trying to piece together a puzzle,” she said.

• • •

Oak Hill posted one of its biggest wins of the season last week in knocking off Winthrop 3-0 on the turf at Thomas College to remain unbeaten in Mountain Valley Conference play. After a subsequent win over Lisbon, though, the Raiders were upset 1-0 by Dirigo on Monday at home.

“Dirigo showed up and Oak Hill didn’t,” Oak Hill coach Betsy Gilbert said. “We’re halfway through the season and we can’t look at what we’ve done before.”

The Raiders (6-1) remain atop the standings in Class C South and will be a force in the playoffs given all their talent and experience. Gilbert isn’t that upset with a mid-season loss, because the pressure was building with an unbeaten record.

“The monkey’s off their backs now,” she said.

Like most teams, the Raiders prefer turf where their passing skills come to the forefront. They’ll see more turf in the postseason but not on their home field.

“Our field is very lumpy and it’s hard to control the ball,” Gilbert said. “I prefer to play on turf. We played on turf all summer.”

The lineup is versatile and experienced, led by six returning seniors — Lexi Fuller, Erika Hannigan, Mercedes Pease, Lindsey Wright, Abby Asselin, and Hayden Spencer. Nine of the 10 field players this year have scored more than one goal.

“We have more experience (this year) but we lack the depth,” said Gilbert, whose program only has 20 players.

The Raiders have key games remaining on the road at Boothbay and Dirigo and at home against Winthrop on Oct. 5.

• • •

Winthrop did a little reevaluation following its 3-0 loss to Oak Hill last week, its first loss of the season.

“There was a lot of taking a look at ourselves,” Winthrop coach Jess Merrill said. “The bottom line is we need to work harder. We need to play like it matters. It definitely was a wakeup call for me on my end.”

Merrill juggled her formation, putting another player up front.

“It’s almost like a five-person front,” she said. “We’ve been working on making triangles and passing in those triangles.”

The Ramblers responded with shutout wins against Dirigo and Lisbon.

“The passing today was phenomenal,” Merrill said after Monday’s win against Lisbon. Senior Emil Molino has come on strong in the last few games.

“She’s finally doing what I know she’s able to do,” Merrill said.

Senior midfielder Kat Hajduk, a Miss Maine Field Hockey nominee, has been the team’s bedrock

“She’s a brick wall,” Merrill said. “She’s the start of our defense and the start of our offense.”

Senior goalie Corinna Coulton gas five shutouts and is keeping the Ramblers in games. The Ramblers face key tests against Boothbay and Oak Hill down the stretch.


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