BANGOR, Maine — The undefeated Bangor High School girls soccer team has lost a goalkeeper.
Sophomore Chandler Stairs, daughter of former major leaguer Matt Stairs, has moved with her family back to their native New Brunswick.
Her father is in his first season as in-studio analyst on selected Boston Red Sox games for the New England Sports Network.
Chandler Stairs had been sharing the goalkeeping with junior Kirsten Higgins, with each playing a half of each game. Sophomore Cordelia Stewart was the No. 3 ‘keeper.
All three of Bangor’s goalkeepers last fall, starter Mia Smith and backups Kristen Henigan and Meri Wicks, graduated.
“Chandler is a big loss. She was gaining confidence [with playing time]. She was a real good goalkeeper. We wish her well,” said Bangor coach Joe Johnson.
Higgins will handle the chores, but Johnson intends to give the inexperienced Stewart some playing time as she has become the No. 2 ‘keeper.
“She’s new to the position and new to soccer. She’s very athletic and she’s picking it up really fast,” said Johnson. “She’ll get some playing time.”
Johnson said he has been pleased with Higgins’ progress.
“She wanted to play in the field, but I told her we really needed her in goal and she has stepped up for us,” said Johnson.
Despite inexperienced goaltending and a revamped back line, the 7-0 Rams have allowed just six goals this season while scoring 46.
Defending Class A state champion Bangor will put its 25-game winning streak on the line Friday night at 6 when it entertains 7-0 Brunswick.
Bangor is currently leading the Eastern Maine Class A Heal Points standings followed by the Dragons.
The teams met in the EM title game a year ago with Bangor pulling out a 2-0 victory.
Conlogues’ final season together
This season will bring an end to a special relationship.
Mt. Blue High School girls soccer coach Fred Conlogue has been coaching his daughter Mackenzie for six years, including four at the Farmington-based high school.
Mackenzie Conlogue is a striker for the Cougars.
“It has been a unique experience,” said Fred Conlogue, who is in his fourth season as the head coach after coaching the junior high team. “It’s obviously sad that her career is coming to an end.”
Mackenzie enjoys playing for her father.
“It hasn’t been awkward. I’m used to it. He’s a good coach,” said Mackenzie. “I don’t really feel like he’s my dad when he’s coaching.”
He said he doesn’t treat her any differently from any other player.
“I’m no harder on her than anyone else. You have to be that way. You have to be fair. You have to treat everyone in the program the same way,” said Fred, who added that he has a special place in his heart for all of his 10 seniors.
“I’ve coached them for quite a while and they’re a very enjoyable group to coach. They have played real hard for me,” said Conlogue, whose Cougars are 3-2-1 this season.
Senior midfielder Chelsea Newhall verified that the coach treats his daughter the same as everyone else and said they have fun playing for him.