Winslow’s Andrew Poulin, center, tries to escape Ellsworth defender Darren Easler, right, during the first half of a Class B North semifinal game last season at Colby College in Waterville. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

WINSLOW — After a decade of unparalleled success, Winslow enters completely uncharted territory in 2022.

The Black Raiders won their third regional title last fall — the program’s fifth since 2002 — under the tutelage of head coach Aaron Wolfe. But for the first time in Wolfe’s 11 seasons at the helm, Winslow boys soccer has as many questions as answers entering a season.

“We graduated 12 seniors and probably the deepest (senior) class I’ve ever had,” Wolfe said. “We do have a few returning players, but almost all of the varsity is now new faces.”

Wolfe is down to just 19 rostered players in a Black Raider program that had 35 a year ago. He said it’s a trend that’s been developing at the school — reminiscent of his final days as the Winslow baseball coach in 2018, when an extremely small roster produced a one-win season.



Wolfe said he doesn’t expect it to be anywhere near as bad this fall when it comes to results.

“The only thing so far that we’re doing differently is because of the lower numbers,” Wolfe said. “We’d typically go to two play-days with multiple games, and we’d have scrimmages during the week leading up to those Saturdays. We’ve had to pull back on what we normally do to try and manage what we have.”

After hoisting the Class B North regional championship trophy in 2021 for the third time since 2016, not all hope is lost for Winslow.

The Black Raiders have two stalwarts from that regional title returning — namely striker Andrew Poulin and goalkeeper Joey Richards, both seniors.

Winslow’s Joey Richards (12) gets a shot on Ellsworth keeper Craig Burnett during the first half of a Class B North semifinal game last season at Colby College in Waterville. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

What might look different is how the squad connects the dots in getting the ball from Richards’ hands at one end of the pitch all the way to Poulin’s lethal strike at the other end of it. Instead of building straight through the center of the park — where the Raiders were once blessed with depth and skill at center back and central midfield — Winslow may find itself altering its approach.

“You try to see throughout the summer and preseason, and into the beginning of the season, what’s working the best. Sometimes that’s dictated by the other team and what they’re doing,” Wolfe said. “Sometimes (the game plan) ends up being similar year to year — but you always try to mix it up a little bit.

“There’s things I want to see from every one of my teams, but based on who you have you’re going to have slight variations — how much possession do you want, where do we want to have that possession, things like that.”


Of the 19 players on the roster, Wolfe estimates that 15 of them have come all the way up through Winslow’s youth soccer program.

Even if nine of the Starting XI for the season opener this week against MCI only saw minimal minutes in all of 2021, they still represent seasoned soccer players who have been in the program and understand what is being asked of them.

“With our depth with not what it was, we want to go into the season fresh,” Wolfe said. “But our Starting XI as it stands is right now, we’re sill going to win games and we should be in the top half (of Class B North). We’re going to have to win closer games. tight games, hard-fought games. We just don’t have the firepower of last few seasons.

“If we get past the midway point and we’re clearly in the playoffs and it’s just a matter of seeding at that point, and I have a player who could play in a game if it was a playoff game, I think I’m just more likely to sit the player because we have to be careful (with our depth).”

The rest of Class B should shape up much like it has in previous seasons. In the North, John Bapst, Ellsworth and Presque Isle should be major players at the end of the year. In B South, Gardiner and Erskine are among the best that the KVAC has to offer but will run into stiff tests in Yarmouth and Greely at tournament time.

In Class C, Hall-Dale, Mt. Abram and Monmouth have developed proven track records and hold regional title aspirations. Maranacook should rebound from a down year with some more experience, and Winthrop is building back up with better numbers.

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