LINCOLN – It was a game that featured one of the state’s most tradition-laden soccer programs and another in its second year of varsity play.
The Presque Isle girls looked every bit like an experienced club Thursday afternoon, as Kayla Richards tallied three goals and Chandler Guerrette and Chelsea Nickerson adding two each as coach Ralph Michaud’s Wildcats defeated Mattanawcook Academy 9-1.
Nickerson, a junior sweeper, blasted in a shot from 25 yards out 1:33 into the match while Guerrette, Richards and Megan Ireland also scored in the first 10 minutes for Presque Isle, which unleashed 49 shots to MA’s five.
Kaitlyn McPherson added a first-half goal for the Wildcats, who led 6-0 at halftime.
Mattanawcook scored its goal 1:06 into the second half, with Malia Shaefer recording an unassisted tally.
Guerrette, Nickerson and Richards scored a goal apiece in the second half, while Guerrette and Nickerson also had an assist each.
Sitting on a comfortable lead at the break, the Wildcats didn’t exactly come out with a lot of fire to start the second, but Presque Isle regrouped after Shaefer’s goal.
“I guess we just weren’t completely focused, the score might have gotten to us, and we just weren’t ready,” Richards said. “It’s something to learn from, we’re so young.”
Even though the Wildcats, who improved to 3-1-1, dominated all facets of the game, the Lynx hustled to every 50-50 ball while goalkeeper Taylor Blood turned in an outstanding effort, making 21 saves.
“They’re a lot better than you expect for a team that’s just starting,” Richards said.
Mattanawcook coach Stephanie Dubay, whose team falls to 1-2, was impressed with the way her players kept their heads in the game and kept working hard.
“I love the improvement, especially in the second half, for them to come out and knock one in in the first few minutes, that’s huge,” she said. “They’re growing, just watching the different things, and last year they didn’t recognize a wall pass and a triangle and they’re getting that this year.”
Blood’s play was also impressive.
“She loves this sport, she loves the World Cup, she does the little things,” Dubay said. “She’s working on the soft hands, breaking down the angles. She made some huge saves today.”
The Wildcats, who have 10 sophomores, have improved with each game as well after a 5-3 season-opening loss at home to rival Caribou.
“We learned from it and we didn’t expect the toughness and the composure that Caribou had, and we’ve learned to adapt to that and be tougher,” said Nickerson.
Dubay was impressed with the talented Nickerson, who jumpstarted a lot of Presque Isle scoring runs with her long kicks up the flanks, and she feels that her team could learn from that.
“Chelsea Nickerson being the sweeper making those runs, that’s something to learn from,” Dubay said. “A lot of college teams do that and Chelsea did it like a college player, so very nice to see that.”
Quite a few of the Wildcats’ goals were highlight-reel goals, including Nickerson’s booming shot to open the scoring and McPherson getting a perfect head on a Nickerson corner kick later in the first half.
“It was important to know we came here to win and not mess around,” Nickerson said.
Presque Isle goalkeeper Meredith Stewart was never seriously tested throughout the match, and came up with three saves on five Mattanawcook shots.