The Mount View boys soccer team turned in strong performances the last two regular seasons, dropping only one match over that same time span.

The lone loss came in 2017, to eventual regional champion Winslow.

But the postseason was a different story, as the Mustangs were bounced early from the Class B North tournament in both seasons.

Hall-Dale soccer players Jackson Leach, left, and Riley Hayward battle for a ball during an Aug. 22 practice in Farmingdale. Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Ph Buy this Photo

This year, Mount View — with an enrollment of about 300 students — joins Class C North. 

“There’s still a lot of good teams out there — Fort Kent, Houlton, Washington Academy,” said first-year Mount View coach Jeremy Van Oesen, who also coaches the men’s and women’s teams at Unity College. “But I really do think it’s a good fit for us. We play a (Class) B schedule, which gets us prepared, and that’s only going to help us.”

Mount View is led by senior striker Elijah Allen, whose skills are only exceeded by his work ethic.

“He’s truly the centerpiece of this team,” Van Oesen said. “He’s relentless. Unbelievable talent on the ball, super unselfish — which is something people probably don’t realize about him. He always does the right thing. He’s a true leader on and off the field, and he works harder than any person I’ve ever seen.”

There will be plenty of competition waiting for Mount View, particularly in Class C South. Maranacook went to the regional final last fall, and the Black Bears are back with Carter McPhedran poised to play a pivotal role in the midfield. Like Mount View, Maranacook plays a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference schedule dotted with upperclass teams, one that gets them ready for the postseason.

But don’t count out the Mountain Valley Conference, which should have something to say about how the state and regional title pictures play out.

After two years of inching its way toward the top of the standings. Mt. Abram might finally be the odds-on favorite. Evan Allen (no relation to Elijah) is a midfield general who is the type of playmaker every attacking team needs in order to succeed.

“I feel good, but we’re nowhere near where we want to be yet,” said Mt. Abram coach Darren Allen. “We got our playoff game win under our belt last year, in the snow, and that gave us that experience. We didn’t lose any attacking pieces. We need to replace our back line, but we have kids with the ability to play different positions, and the soccer IQ of this group is incredibly high.”

Hall-Dale took a heavy hit from graduation, but it should recover with plenty of returning players who saw key minutes last season. New coach Jesse Rowe was Andy Haskell’s assistant last season, too, so there is some continuity at the top.

“Yeah, we lost a lot, but the guys we brought back, they know what the challenge is,” Rowe said. “They knew the expectations of the program before Andy left. They haven’t changed a lot.”

A young Monmouth team a year ago gained valuable experience while clearing some obstacles, and Joe Fletcher’s side is, like Mt. Abram, poised to make a run back to the top.

Striker Gabe Martin and midfielder Thomas Neal make the Mustangs go, having been key contributors for three seasons now.

“Time will tell, but this could be a very solid club,” Fletcher said. “We played a challenging summer schedule comprised of (Class) A and B perennial powers and fared well. Our high work rate and positive attitude will be the backbone of this club.”

Jon Behr continues to build Winthrop in the right direction, and Oak Hill could benefit from a drop to Class C this season. Both could find their way into the playoff mix late in the season.

Carrabec has first-year coach Noah Carroll — who played his high school career at Gardiner — and the Cobras are trying to build the foundation for a future return to the postseason.

CLASS D

After going to the school’s first regional final in any sport, Temple Academy should again make a deep run in D South.

Though the Bereans lost some key players from that 2018 squad, there is still plenty of talent under head coach Phil Hubbard, whose only regular season loss last year came in the second game of the season.

“We will have some bumps along the way, but the talent and heart is there,” Hubbard said. “It will take us half the season to figure out our identity.”

Richmond, under the tutelage of Pete Gardner, is always competitive and should find itself at or near the top of the Class D South regional standings in late October.

Valley and Rangeley each made postseason appearances a year ago and should do so again.

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