The Washburn High School girls soccer team has 11 players who know what it’s like to win a state championship.
They did so in basketball last season as the Beavers beat Richmond 43-30 in the Class D state title game.
Now they would like to add a soccer state championship to their trophy case and they certainly have positioned themselves to make a serious run at one.
Entering the harvest break, the Beavers are 10-0 including a 7-1 victory over defending Eastern Maine Class D titlist Van Buren.
“I told the girls that my goal was to make it to the states and it will come down to how hard they want to work,” said third-year head coach Marcie Barbarula, a Carmel native who played her high school soccer at Hermon High.
“This team has the drive to win. Last year’s state championship in basketball was a big confidence booster for them,” said Barbarula, who returned six starters.
The team also has extra incentive because of a heartbreaking 4-3 loss to top seed Ashland in the soccer semis last fall.
“We were up 3-2 with 40 seconds left,” explained Barbarula, whose team was the No. 4 seed and wound up 9-5-2.
She said the impressive win over Van Buren earlier this fall has also spiked their confidence.
The Beavers have scored 49 goals and allowed just eight and they are strong in every position on the field whether it be occupied by a seasoned veteran or a quality newcomer.
For example, junior Magan Fitzpatrick and senior Kristi Sperrey are the wings and they flank freshman striker Mackenzie Worcester, who happens to be their leading scorer with 17 goals. Fitzpatrick missed last season due to injury.
Carsyn Koch and Carmen Bragg comprise a dynamic midfield tandem and both are only sophomores. But both started as freshmen.
Koch has 13 goals and Bragg, according to Barbarula, “does a great job controlling the midfield. She anticipates what’s going to happen and hustles everywhere.”
Freshman Joan Overman joins them in the midfield.
Another freshman, Catelyn Coulombe, is the sweeper and “has really controlled the back although it’s a position she hadn’t previously played,” according to Barbarula.
Sophomore Nicole Olson is the stopper. Senior Kelsey Churchill and senior Tia Dee accompany them in the back.
Fortifying the defense is junior goalie Rayah Saucier, who has four shutouts and is a three-year starter.
Among the valuable reserves are freshman midfielder-striker Mikayla Churchill, junior defender Olivia Moody and sophomore utility player Kennedy Churchill.
Barbarula said her players are unselfish and they work and communicate extremely well together.
She said she has a “lot of speed up front” and she has received goals from a lot of different players.
Fitness certainly won’t be a problem for the Beavers because she has “nine or 10 girls who also run cross country.”
The Beavers return to action on Oct. 13 against Van Buren.
Pyne enjoys life in midfield
Abby Pyne has made a name for herself as one of the state’s premier goalies and a budding star on the national scene.
The John Bapst High School sophomore has been selected to the United States national team’s Under-14 and Under-15 teams.
But Pyne isn’t tending the goal for the Crusaders this season, she is playing in the midfield.
“We made the decision before the season started,” said John Bapst coach Nikki Novak. “She’s such a great midfielder and we lost a lot of strength (at midfield). Mackenzie Hayman has been doing a great job in goal.”
“We love having her in the field this year,” said John Bapst senior midfielder Sierra Pierce. “She’s good at moving the ball around. You can depend on her.”
Pyne possesses a very strong right foot and she has been a valuable asset offensively as well as controlling play in the midfield with her foot skills and strength.
“I was very happy about the move,” said the six-foot Pyne. “It is helping my foot skills and my touch a lot. It’s definitely helped me develop quick bursts of speed. I’m a better asset to the team in the midfield. They say goalkeepers use their feet seven times more than their hands so this will help me when I get a back pass. I’ll be able to play the ball more accurately up the field.
“I love it. It has been a lot of fun,” added Pyne.
She will still play goalkeeper for a new team she has joined that is based in Massachusetts.
“The league starts in November. It’s a league where you fly out to play in tournaments in places like California, Texas and New York. They’re five-day-long tournaments. I’m going to play in four of those and then we will have games every weekend. My dad (Jay) has become a seasoned chauffeur.”
She said she continues to work with John Bapst goalie coach Josh Jones regularly.
Mattanawcook girls improving
The Mattanawcook Academy girls soccer program is making strides both on and off the field.
The third-year varsity team is off to a 2-2-1 start with both losses coming at the hands of Class B power John Bapst of Bangor. Mattanawcook plays in Class C.
Coach Stephanie Dubay said “our numbers are great at the middle school. And we have a JV team as well as a varsity team. We’re hoping to get even more numbers next year.”
Dubay pointed out that close to 30 girls of all ages from Lincoln attended the Dutch Soccer Academy camp at Bangor Christian last summer “and they told us because we had so many girls at the camp, they would let us host one this summer.”
Dubay said they have been blessed to have a “wonderful group of mothers who took it upon themselves to raise all the money for the uniforms, the balls and everything” to get the program started and now the school has offered its support.
Dubay said it has been challenging teaching the girls how to play the game instinctively “but they’re getting better each game.”
John Bapst coach Nikki Novak said the MA program has improved noticeably.
The MA players are optimistic about the future.
“We’re a pretty good team and we keep getting better,” said junior goalie Taylor Blood.
“We’ve having a lot of fun and doing really well. We’re all improving. I’m really proud of our team,” said senior midfielder Sharlene Maynard. “We’re playing the ball to feet and doing the little things we’re supposed to do.”