Key factors send Maine Tide to Northport’s Point Lookout

Posted June 25, 2010, at 9:26 p.m.

    The Maine Tide of the Women’s Premier Soccer League will play its final four games, all home matches, at the Point Lookout Resort Field in Northport. Northport is approximately 48 miles from Bangor.

The Tide will play the New England Mutiny in Northport on Sunday at 3 p.m.

The Tide will then entertain Boston Aztec on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m., Seacoast United on July 10 at 3 p.m. and the Connecticut Passion on July 11 at p.m. to conclude its season.

Cheryl Stokes, the president of the franchise, explained that it made sense to make the move from the Hampden Academy field where the Tide had its only previous home game, a 2-0 loss to Boston 23 last Sunday.

“The field at Point Lookout is soccer-specific,” began Stokes.

Hampden Academy’s field is a multi-sport facility.

“There is easier locker room access at Point Lookout. The locker room facility is on-site. At Hampden, you have to cross the street to go to the locker rooms,” continued Stokes. “Point Lookout also has cabins right there if teams want to spend the night before or after a game. They have one-, two- and three-bedroom cabins and the three-bedroom cabins can sleep eight.”

In addition, she said there is a restroom facility next to the field. At Hampden Academy, you have to go into the academy or use a portable toilet.

She said the price of renting the facility is the same as Hampden, approximately $200 per game.

“The people at Hampden Academy have been very good to us,” said Stokes. “We appreciate them working with us. But, for our needs, it works out better at Point Lookout. It’s designed for what we need.”

The Tide will be looking for its first win this weekend. The team is 0-6 but has been more competitive lately.

After being outscored 19-0 in its first three losses, all on the road, the Tide has limited teams to eight goals in the last three games while scoring once.

The Tide went 0-9-1 a year ago after posting a 4-6-2 mark in its inaugural season.

“Frankly, the scores don’t reflect how well the team has played,” said Stokes. “I’m not discouraged. They’re a good team. They play hard. They play strong. Hopefully, they’ll be able to turn it around for the balance of the season.”

She said their early-season woes can be traced to the fact they had only 48 hours to prepare for their first game and don’t have the luxury of training together in April and May like “some of the other teams do.”

She praised player-coach Hailey Blackburn for her coaching performance and the job she has done administratively, recruiting players and finding jobs and lodging for them.

The Women’s Premier Soccer League is comprised of 56 amateur teams nationwide and the Maine team is made up of mostly high school and college-age players from all over the East.

The game between the Tide and Mutiny will be one of four games at Point Lookout on Sunday. There will be a $5 admission fee, but the other three games are free.

The Tide also has an Under-20 (years of age) team coached by Mike Noblet and it will host the New Hampshire Mountaineers and Western Massachusetts. New Hampshire and the Tide Under-20s will play at 9:30 a.m., New Hampshire and Western Mass. will play at 1 p.m. and, after the Tide and Mutiny WPSL game, the Tide Under-20s will face Western Mass. at 5 p.m.

In addition, the Maine Sting Under-20 men’s team will open its season on the road this weekend. Billy Shannon and Josh Bartlett are coaching them.

The Sting’s National Premier Soccer League team ceased operations before this season after a two-year run due to prohibitive travel expenses but Stokes said she is still planning to bring it back next summer.

In the meantime, the Sting Under-20 team has been established and will play the New Jersey Blaze on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. at Merrimack College in North Andover, Mass., and the Morris County Colonials (N.J.) on Sunday at 9:30 a.m. at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, N.H.

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