When the Winslow girls soccer team handed defending Class B North champion Waterville a 3-1 loss last Saturday, it was exactly the type of win the Black Raiders had been seeking.

“We’ve had good seasons the last couple of years, but we never got that signature win,” said Winslow coach Steve Bodge, whose team climbed to third in the Class B North standings. “With Waterville being our rival, with them being No. 2 (in the B North Heal points) with all the success they’ve had over the last decade, it was good to get that one out of the way.”

The Black Raiders (7-1-1) did it by jumping out early on the Purple Panthers (8-2-1), scoring twice before the game was seven minutes old.

Those quick starts have been part of the team’s success this season. With a veteran group of backs, a young attacking side has plenty of confidence to go forward. Winslow averages 3.0 goals per game — and while that doesn’t make the team one of the most prolific scoring sides in the state, it does mark a leap forward from a season ago.

The Raiders have only trailed in two games this season — a 2-0 loss to Class A Bangor and in a 2-2 draw with Erskine.

“We had so many games last year where we scored no goals or one goal. We played multiple 0-0 ties,” Bodge said. “We’re trying to keep extra pressure on teams this year. Defensively we’re still solid, but the difference is we’re able to score a few goals.”

Business is hardly finished for Winslow. They will travel to Waterville to play the Panthers for the second time in a week on Saturday, in a matchup that will likely be No. 2 vs. No. 3 in the region.

Waterville has lost only three regular-season games over the last four seasons, and the Purple Panthers are 3-1-1 against Winslow over the last three seasons.

“Even though it’s a rivalry, we haven’t gotten many of the wins,” Bodge said.

• • •

A season ago, the Mt. Blue boys won only twice all season, sneaking into the final playoff spot in Class A North before being bounced by top-seeded Edward Little in the regional quarterfinals.

Fast-forward to this season, where the Cougars started out at 5-2-1 and find themselves in the heart of a stacked region.

Last week, Mt. Blue had a 2-0 lead over powerhouse Lewiston before falling in overtime to the Blue Devils.

“We’re going to gift wrap this thing, we’re going to repackage it and call it what it is,” Mt. Blue coach Joel Smith said after that game. “We’re going to learn from it. The big thing is we’ll get better from it. I believe that.”

“I’ve wanted to beat Lewiston ever since I came to Mt. Blue as a freshman, just because they’re such a good team and they set such a high standard,” junior center back Dom Giampietro said. “We came close. Every loss we have, I really feel like it’s just another reference point for us to really improve by. It’s something we can look back and see where we can get better.”

Though the Cougars lost to No. 1 Bangor on Tuesday, they still remain sixth in the region.

Lewiston coach Mike McGraw was left more than impressed by Mt. Blue after the Blue Devils’ 3-2 win, one calendar year after his side hung a 10-1 defeat on the Cougars.

“I gotta give Mt. Blue credit,” McGraw said. “Those guys have come such a long way. They really work hard. The kids play hard, they play physical. They’re one of these teams that’s super-dangerous when the playoffs come. (In Farmington), I don’t know who would (beat) them.”

• • •

Mount View boys soccer coach Dale Hustus said during preseason that he was confident his team could reach the Class B playoffs, but the Mustangs have shredded those expectations.

At 9-1-0 through Wednesday, the Mustangs held the top spot in the North region.

“We looked over the schedule, we were thinking six, seven wins,” junior captain Cassidy Pound said following a 3-1 over MCI on Tuesday. “Our team is young. We have three seniors. That’s not a very old team. We were not expecting to get as far as we are. This is huge. Our school hasn’t done anything like this in years. This is huge for us.”

In line to host a quarterfinal round game, the Mustangs are approaching the next phase of the season the same way they approached the first: No pressure.

“Teams that have been in the playoffs, year after year after year, there’s an expectation,” Hustus said. “It’s like ‘Hey, we need to win because we always win in the first round of the playoffs.’ Well, guess what? It’s been a while since we made it there. We’ve already achieved our goals. Now it’s just pushing the pile. If we lose, hey, we’re still winners, we got there. That’s the attitude we’ve had as a team.”

Staff writer Dave Dyer contributed to this report.

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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