There might not be anybody more qualified to talk about the Madison and Monmouth girls soccer teams than Lisbon head coach Brian Dube.

Dube’s Greyhounds entered this week third in the Class C South Heal point standings, right behind unbeaten Monmouth and once-beaten Madison. The Mustangs host the Bulldogs on Thursday afternoon in a matchup that’s been anticipated since the final whistle of a 3-2 Monmouth victory in Madison in the season opener.

“Madison is pretty much like Monmouth,” Dube said after Madison defeated Lisbon, 3-1, on Monday night at Thomas College. “From what I’ve seen, just the combination play and their passing is better than most. I can’t speak for the Sacopee Valleys, but we’ve played the other teams in our conference, and you’ve got those two and then there’s a group of us behind that.”

Monmouth has cruised to an 11-0-0 record in the Mountain Valley Conference this season, outscoring the opposition by a combined 61-4 through 11 contests. Madison might not boast the same gaudy scoring totals, but they have surrendered only five goals all season.

Thursday’s match promises to be good. Both teams are expected to try and generate their attack through the midfield.

“Maybe some other coaches might disagree but I think they’re the two premier teams in our conference right now,” Dube said.

• • •

Don’t look now, but the Waterville boys are hitting their collective stride just in time for the playoffs.

While the Purple Panthers’ record won’t be quite what it has been in recent seasons, head coach Kerry Serdjenian likes his team’s chemistry entering the final week of the regular season.

“We had some issues with sportsmanship early on that took away from our talent,” Serdjenian said. “That’s something we really struggled with at the beginning of season. When you don’t have a lot of depth, you count on a bunch of players to be on the field for you and not sitting because of injuries or red cards.”

Since a 5-1 loss to Winslow, Waterville has won three straight games. The Panthers have averaged six goals per game over the streak and enter Thursday with a 6-4-1 record, 10th in Class B North Heal points.

“As these boys start finding their confidence, it’s getting better,” Serdjenian said. “There is such a thing as slumps when it comes to hitting (in baseball) or scoring goals. When it rains, it pours sometimes, and when you go from scoring one or two goals a game to scoring many, it always helps with your confidence.”

Waterville concludes its regular season next week with stiff tests against Leavitt and MCI.

• • •

The Monmouth boys remain atop Class C South after a 1-1 tie against Hall-Dale on Tuesday, but the Mustangs were able to digest that result as they look forward to starting the playoffs with a healthy lineup.

“No one enjoys a tie, but when it comes down to the late season, you’ll take any points you can get,” senior striker Hunter Richardson said. “A tie is definitely helpful. We’re just trying to secure that No. 1 spot and get home field advantage.”

With a 7-1-2 record, Monmouth has, perhaps coincidentally, tied two teams that are content at times to pack the box with defenders and protect early leads. In both draws with Hall-Dale and Carrabec/Madison, that was what the Mustangs saw.

“Our goal is to do what we do, try to play hard and play with heart,” Richardson said. “We just want to attack and wait for our chances to capitalize.”

• • •

In the preseason, Carrabec/Madison boys coach P.J. Vicneire was fairly honest in his assessment of his young lineup. Vicneire wasn’t very optimistic, and he admits that he’s as surprised by the team’s 7-1-2 record.

“The results have been a huge surprise, but they’ve put in the hard work. They’re a gritty bunch, but not necessarily highly skilled,” Vicneire said. “I’m as amazed as anyone. We’re playing with a lot of heart. We have no legitimate striker or wing players, and we just have four or five experienced players. They’re all just playing like their lives depend on it.”

Because the team has players from Madison on its roster, the Maine Principals’ Association has it slotted in Class B this season — and the Cobras are fourth in Class B South. But all the good feelings in North Anson are mixed with a dose of reality.

The team’s potential playoff opponents include Maranacook, York, Cape Elizabeth and other perennially strong programs from the southern part of the state.

The team that’s allowed only four goals all season will be tested in its final three regular season games — against Wiscasset, Hall-Dale and Monmouth. Vicneire said it will provide insight into the kind of competition Carrabec/Madison will see in the postseason.

“Scoring has been our weakness a little bit, because we’ve been so focused on not letting other teams score,” Vicneire said. “We just try to win all the 50-50 balls with a little pressure. We can afford to float more, because we don’t care if other teams out-possess us. So far, things have gone our way.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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