When the first high school field hockey, soccer and volleyball Heal point standings are released by the Maine Principals’ Association this morning, it’s a pretty safe bet that the Old Town girls soccer team will be close to the top of the Eastern Maine Class B ranks.
Coach Chuck Neely’s Coyotes are off to a 5-1 start, and earned their biggest win of the season with a 3-2 decision over John Bapst of Bangor at home Saturday.
“I was very, very confident in the team we have. I knew we’d be good, to say we could start 5-1 you can’t guess that,” Neely said after sophomore forward Katie Deshane scored all three goals against the Crusaders.
In addition to Deshane, Old Town features a speedy lineup, particularly up front with senior forward-midfielder Hannah Barry, freshman winger Megan Cousins, sophomore midfielder Sabrina Jordan and senior midfielder Charlotte Kenneway.
Deshane leads that group, and is dangerous when she gets in the open field.
“We have so much team speed and she’s at the top of the line there. She’s a track star in the off-season and it shows,” said Neely.
Old Town, which has six returning starters, has also received solid goaltending from Annie Cashon, who made several high-percentage stops against John Bapst Saturday.
For the most part, the Coyotes will try to work the wings and the midfield, utilizing their speed.
“We’re solid right through the middle, if you can be solid through the middle in soccer you can do a lot of damage,” said Neely.
Old Town also rediscovered its confidence in beating Bapst, after suffering a 3-0 defeat to a tough Presque Isle team a few days earlier.
“To come back from that and play as hard as we did [Saturday] against a very solid team makes up for it,” said Neely.
The Coyotes’ back line is led by Trisha Smart, Micayla Hussey and Amy Cossar.
Saunders to return Saturday
Caribou High School stand-out senior cross country runner Hannah Saunders has missed the Vikings’ last two meets with a hip injury, but coach Thomas Beckum expects Saunders to be back in the lineup at the Sectional Invitational in Old Town on Saturday.
Saunders missed a pair of meets last week at Presque Isle and Orono with tendinitis in her hip.
“It’s pretty brutal, I’ve run on it myself, it kills,” said Beckum. “She’s [been] sitting out for a week or so until she gets better.”
With the conference and regional championship meets not for another four weeks, Beckum wasn’t willing to take any chances.
“Eastern Maine championships, that’s all I care about, that’s all she cares about,” he said. “This will make her even more hungry.”
The injury was discovered in the Caribou Invitational earlier this month, but the Vikings’ younger runners have come through in Saunders’ absence.
“Everybody’s been stepping up to the plate, once Hannah gets back we’ll be fine,” said Beckum. “[Friday at Orono] we ran unbelievable without Hannah.”
Beckum, who has coached Saunders for five years at the high and middle school levels, said this was the first time she’s been out with an injury.
“She took it pretty hard at the beginning [but] she’s one of those runners that’ll bounce right back,” he said.
The Vikes finished second by a point to Mount Desert Island in a multi-team meet at Orono High last Friday.
Dragons streak done
In a recent cross country meet held at Lawrence High in Fairfield, the Brewer girls did something that no team in Maine has accomplished since 2004: beat Brunswick.
Prior to the Sept. 12 competition, the Dragons had won every meet they have participated in since 2005, which was the start of their three-year state championship run.
The Witches tucked six runners in front of Brunswick’s No. 4 runner to withstand a 1-3-5 finish by the Dragons.
Brewer won the seven-team competition with 34 points.
Brewer junior Bekah Clark expects to return to the Witches’ lineup this week.
Clark has missed the last two meets with a sore back, and said at a meet at Hampden Academy last Friday that she expects to toe the line this coming Friday when the Witches travel to Turner Center to face Leavitt, Lewiston, Hampden and Lawrence of Fairfield.