WATERVILLE — The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Despite having their third coach in the last four years, the Waterville girls soccer team breezed through its schedule and is set to embark on the postseason this week with nary a blemish on its record.

Fourteen games. Fourteen wins. Zero losses, zero ties.

But a great regular season doesn’t exactly qualify as breaking news, not when it comes to the Purple Panthers. Across each of the last three seasons, Waterville has lost only one regular season game (39-1-2).

In 2013, Waterville went to the Class B state title game after entering what is now the North region as the top seed. The next season, the team went and won the Gold Ball under Ian Wilson and found itself nationally ranked after an undefeated campaign. Last year, the Panthers lost in the regional quarterfinals after an 11-1-2 season, the type of “down” year for Waterville that many area teams would celebrate.

“It’s been great to have an undefeated regular season and to win the KVAC championship,” Waterville head coach Mark Serdjenian said, “but our work is ongoing and we look forward to the upcoming tournament.”


The Class B North tournament, at least for Waterville, begins this week. The squad enters as the No. 2 seed in the region, and will host Nokomis in the quarterfinals Wednesday afternoon at Webber Field.

As was the case with most of its opposition in 2016, Waterville had an easy time with Nokomis, beating the Warriors twice by a combined score of 8-1.

Should they get through Nokomis, a return date with third-seeded Oceanside possibly awaits. The two teams met once in the regular season — a 3-0 Panthers victory Sept. 30 — and once in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B title game, a 2-1 Waterville victory that doesn’t count against the team’s overall record.

Even with all of the recent success, there is little sign of the Panthers slowing down any time soon.

Perhaps most impressive is that not only has Waterville responded to yet another offseason coaching change, but the team did so with just five seniors on the roster. Webb is a junior, while Anika Elias, a creative midfield player, is only a sophomore. With the exception of Jabar in central defense, the backbone of the team’s formation is underclassmen.

One of the seniors is goalkeeper TT Branton, who has allowed only two goals all season — and only one since the season opener. All told, the Panthers have outscored the opposition 74-2 through 14 games this season. They’re averaging nearly 5.3 goals per game, though they only need a small fraction of that number.


Waterville enters the postseason having not allowed a goal against in eight straight matches.

“Our success is in large part due to balance on the field — in goal, in the back, through the midfield and up top, especially right up the middle,” Serdjenian said. “The players have been very receptive to a new head coach and, in some cases, to playing new positions and accepting new roles on the team.”

Serdjenian was away from the high school game for more than three decades as the head coach of the Colby College men’s team and an interim season at the helm of the Colby women.

He spoke over the summer of being happy just to carry on the tradition of the Waterville soccer program, on both the boys and girls sides, while making sure to focus on the players on the field.

His belief in them was not without merit.

“The girls dedicated themselves to being stronger and fitter through their summer training, and that fitness has shown in games all season,” Serdjenian said. “The team chemistry has been terrific both within the team and with the coaching staff.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.