The Messalonskee girls soccer team is unbeaten in five straight (5-1-0 overall) after a season-opening loss to powerhouse Camden Hills, and the Eagles are starting to form an identity that likely could spell trouble for their competition.

It’s often said that a good offense is the best defense, and Messalonskee is locking opponents into its own half of the pitch with alarming regularity.

“A lot of that is I just tell them that it’s our ball until we decide we want to go to the goal,” Messalonskee first-year coach Chris DelGiudice said. “As soon as we lose it, they get in. They’re all talking, making sure we defend as one instead of just defending one versus one.”

Keeping that type of patience with — and without — the ball can be trying at times, said Eagle senior Caitlin Parks.

“I think our team has gotten a lot better at keeping the ball and just focusing on not losing it instead of rushing it every second of the half,” Parks said. “It is pretty hard at first, but once you start getting patient you realize, ‘OK, we have the ball.’ Confidence is gained, and then we get some momentum going and we play like we should.”

And Parks is one of the engines in the Messalonskee attack, with her ability to control play from out on the right flank. She can go to the goal herself, or more often than not, find senior Anika Elias — who scored five goals in a win over Waterville Tuesday — to finish off plays.

“I like to find gaps in the defense, and instead of crossing it square I like to drop it back,” Parks said. “It gives our strikers an easier shot and they can get better balls on goal.”

“She’s been that way since the beginning of the season,” DelGiudice added. “We go down her side, she works, she can dribble. She’s one of the seniors we’re looking to put the ball in the net and get the ball to the net for us.”

• • •

The Mt. Blue boys have just one loss this season, but the middle stages of the campaign haven’t been without some trying times.

A rash of illnesses and injuries popped up, forcing Mt. Blue to limp to a pair of 1-0 wins over Cony and Hampden Academy, two teams well outside the Class A North playoff structure. It finally caught up to the Cougars in a 3-1 loss at Maranacook on Tuesday.

“I’m going to be honest, our last three practices have been pathetic,” Mt. Blue coach Joel Smith said. “We only had 21 guys. I’m not going to make excuses, but you practice like you play, and we’ve been playing like that for a long time. Three practices in the middle of the season to just do that — and at points I had four guys that started (against Maranacook) not practicing. You think, ‘They should have energy.’ It doesn’t work like that. As crazy as it sounds, it doesn’t. I had four starters (Monday) night sitting. That hurts.”

There is still plenty to like about the Cougars, who boast a potent attack in senior striker Sam Smith and a very good back four. Maranacook coach Don Beckwith praised Mt. Blue for what it brings and believes it’s a team that could make a second consecutive deep run in the postseason.

“This is a damn good team,” Beckwith said of Mt. Blue. (Dom Giampietro), he’s a beast. He’s big and he’s good. (Left back Eli Yeaton) he’s a really good player. He can change direction and play the ball. He’s a player. I think he’s a difference maker for them.”

Though it’s not been the best stretch for the Cougars, who reached the regional semifinals last season, Smith is keeping things in perspective.

“It’s better that it happens now than (in October),” Smith said. “I can say that to you with a little bit of positivity, but in the moment, it hurts.”

• • •

The Mount View boys sit atop the Class B North standings with a 7-0-0 mark following Wednesday’s 5-1 win over Brewer. The Mustangs are the only team in the 21-team region without a loss or a tie on their record. … After going winless through their first four games, the Skowhegan girls have won two in a row — including an overtime victory against Oxford Hills — to climb into the Class A North playoff structure. … After winning six straight to begin the year, the Mt. Abram girls are 6-2-0 and occupied the top spot in Class C South as of Wednesday night. … There is a logjam atop the Class C South boys region, with No. 1 Maranacook (6-0-0), No. 2 Hall-Dale (5-0-0) and No. 3 Mt. Abram (5-0-0) all unbeaten through Wednesday. They’ve conceded just six goals combined across their 16 games.

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]


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