The Maranacook boys soccer team blitzed through its first 10 games of the season undefeated, outscoring opponents by a combined 40-1 count and steamrolling toward the Class C South tournament with an eye on the top seed in the region.

Tuesday night at home, that train ran into a Class A juggernaut in Lewiston, and the Blue Devils hung a 3-0 loss on the Black Bears. Ten-game winning streak gone, three goals allowed in a single game for the first time in over a year and the first time Maranacook had been shut out since the 2016 Class B South regional final.

Yet, the Black Bears saw only positives in Tuesday night’s effort.

“This is exactly what you want,” Maranacook senior Jackson McPhedran said. “We’re lucky we have Lincoln and Winslow coming up still, which are really strong teams, too. It’s great to have the competition now, because it’s playoff atmosphere.”

“We’ve obviously got some things to work on,” Maranacook coach Don Beckwith added. “We were all right. There’s a reason they’re Class A and we’re Class C.”

With only three games remaining until the postseason, it was the perfect time for a measuring-stick type game for the Black Bears.

Lewiston striker Bilal Hersi, who scored the game’s second goal Tuesday, didn’t mince words when praising the Black Bears’ defenders who allowed only five on-target shots in 80 minutes.

“Top two,” Hersi said. “It’s probably between them and Bangor. They’re as good as any Class A school. They’re one of the best teams we’ve played this season.”

Maranacook wasn’t the only team looking for some playoff seasoning out of the match. The brand of soccer the Black Bears play, a physical game with pressure all over the pitch, was what Lewiston coach Mike McGraw wanted his team to face, too.

“Maranacook presents a physical presence, and we need to be able to deal with that,” McGraw said. “The closer we get to the playoffs, the more intense the games are. The more intense they are, the more physical they are. When you get into the playoffs, it’s a totally different scenario. We have to be ready for that.”

• • •

One season ago, the Richmond girls team ran through the competition all the way to the Class D South regional championship.

This year, the Bobcats (5-3-2) are still among the region’s best teams, though they are a different type of team. Through 10 games, Richmond has scored only 30 goals — with 18 of those coming in just two contests — and has twice played scoreless draws in its last three games.

Head coach Troy Kendrick, who graduated Meranda Martin and her 38 goals as a senior last fall, has found himself praising the process over the results.

“The kids are working so hard, I just want them to be rewarded,” Kendrick said.

In addition to graduating goal-scoring punch, the schedule is different this year for the Bobcats, too.

“Not to make excuses, but this is probably the youngest, most inexperienced team I’ve had in a while, and it’s probably the most challenging schedule we’ve had,” Kendrick said. “We’ve picked up a bunch of games (against Class C teams) from western Maine.

“It’s kind of a double-whammy. But, again, bless the kids — they’re hanging in there and always come to practice to work hard. I feel bad, because they’re feeling the frustration.”

• • •

At 5-4-2, the Hall-Dale girls are on pace for what looks like, at least on paper, a season identical to 2016.

Coach Guy Cousins, though, sees things differently. A 1-0 loss to undefeated Oak Hill last Friday was a significant sign that this Bulldog team is different.

“It’s some of the best soccer this team has played all season,” Cousins said of the Oak Hill game. “We tend not to spend any time or energy on a ‘W’ or an ‘L;’ it’s more about how you perform. Are we increasing and improving as a team and individuals, on our technical ability and tactically?”

Hall-Dale played a 5-3-1 for most of the Oak Hill match, focusing on defending. When the Raiders went ahead in the second half, the Bulldogs changed into a 4-4-2 and created chances to grab an equalizer.

That goal never came, but the ability to change on the fly — successfully — was promising.

“It was a huge, huge game for us tactically, in terms of realizing we can play potentially two or three different formations in a game without being lost,” Cousins said. “This is a young team, too, so we’re really excited about that. They’re feeling good about this performance, even though we didn’t get the outcome we wanted.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.