WASHBURN, Maine — The Washburn High School girls soccer program has added a junior varsity team this fall even though coach Marcie Barbarula said the school’s enrollment is around 110.
Barbarula said she has 10 freshmen and wanted them to get “experience at the high school level” in order to help them progress.
So they added a JV schedule that includes games against JV teams from other Aroostook County schools such as Caribou, Houlton and Madawaska.
“And they’ve done very well,” said Barbarula. “When you look at them in practice now, they’re really coming along (thanks to playing JV games).”
“We have 18 players on the varsity roster, we have six JVs and we have seven who swing (play for both),” said Barbarula, who felt a JV schedule would also keep the girls involved in the program.
The varsity team has had a good year to date.
Washburn is 7-1-1 despite losing sophomore striker Joan Overman, who had eight goals in four games before undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery.
And standout Carsyn Koch decided not to play in order to focus on her distance running career on the cross country team.
Thirteen soccer players also run cross country and Koch did both in previous years.
“We’ve gelled together real well as a team,” said Barbarula. “We have a lot of young players who have been playing significant minutes and the upperclassmen are helping them out a lot.”
Sophomore attacking midfielder/striker Mackenzie Worcester continues to find the back of the net with 15 goals after scoring 25 a year ago.
Junior Carmen Bragg controls the midfield and sophomore sweeper Catelyn Coulombe anchors the back line with junior stopper Nicole Olsen and marking back Kennedy Churchill. They have a four-year starter in goal in Rayah Saucier.
Sophomore midfielder Mikayla Churchill, senior striker Meagan Fitzpatrick and freshman striker Laina Mette will be called upon to supplement Worcester’s scoring.
“They work well together. They find the open man,” said Barbarula.
In addition to Carmen Bragg, Worcester and Churchill, the midfield also features freshmen Emelia Churchill and Natalie Doody along with junior Caitlyn Roix and sophomore Tyra Shaw.
Supplying depth in the back are sophomore Lucia Bragg and sophomore Brittany Hernandez.
“We’re a quick team. We have a lot of speed,” said Barbarula, who will hold two to three practices a week during the coming potato harvest.
The team has two more games before the three-week hiatus and then returns to play its final three regular-season games.
Easton also a strong contender
There are a number of quality teams in Aroostook County that will be in the thick of the battle for supremacy in Eastern Maine Class D along with Washburn, and one of those teams leads the class in wins: Easton’s Bears, 8-2-1 for games played through Tuesday.
Fort Fairfield is 4-2-1, Central Aroostook of Mars Hill is 5-3-1, and Ashland is 3-3 and is the only team to beat Washburn.
Defending Eastern Maine D champ Van Buren, which was depleted by graduation, is 3-6. The Crusaders still have dynamic scorer Parise Rossignol, but they’ve given up at least six goals six times already this season.
“It has been pretty interesting,” said Easton coach Rachel Tomlinson. “The competition is so close between so many County teams. The teams are pretty similar in that they have a lot of young players who are athletic.”
She has 10 sophomores on her Easton roster, including leading scorer Kylee Carter, who has 15 goals.
“She was a defender last year, but I brought her up front later in the season and she wound up scoring 12 goals,” said Tomlinson.
The other catalyst is senior Carla Halvorson, who has scored “12-13 goals” and is a dominating midfielder, according to Tomlinson.
The position that was the biggest concern for Tomlinson was goalkeeper because incumbent Haley Ambrose decided not to play.
But sophomore Hannah Ferris, who had been a field player, offered to play there and learned the position during summer soccer.
“She’s very athletic and she’s learning more and more about the position every day,” said Tomlinson. “She’s done extremely well considering she had never played the position until this year.”
The Bears are solid in the back, although senior stopper Kennedy Young has been lost for the season with a broken leg.
Mindy Desmond is a four-year starter at left back, sophomore Alex Allen is the sweeper and sophomore Kristin West is the right back.
Tomlinson isn’t sure who will replace Young as yet.
Easton doesn’t play again until Oct. 9 and will have three games remaining.
Accompanying Halvorson in the midfield have been juniors Mariah Cyr and Cassandra Buck and freshman Emma Bonner.
Sophomore Taylor Brown starts up front with Carter.