BANGOR, Maine — Over the last three seasons, the Bangor High School girls soccer team has a 49-3-2 record.
The record clearly speaks for itself.
Two of those three losses came at the hands of Scarborough in the state Class A championship games: 3-0 in 2010 and 2-1 in double overtime last year. In between, the Rams annexed their first state crown with a 4-0 triumph in 2011.
For the second straight year, the Rams will be looking to replace an All-American striker as Grace MacLean has followed Ashley Robinson to the University of Maine.
MacLean concluded her brilliant career with 33 goals and 12 assists a year ago. She finished with 59 goals and 36 assists.
The Rams also will have a new goalkeeper after Cordelia Stewart, who won the job near the end of the season and made 10 saves against Scarborough, was lost for the season due to a knee injury.
But head coach Joe Johnson and his Rams are reloading and looking to make a run at another state title.
“We’ve got a lot of new players and a lot of people playing new positions,” said Johnson. “We aren’t as strong physically as we’ve been in the past but we’re every bit as athletic as we’ve been. What we lack in strength we can make up for in speed and skill. And we may actually possess the ball better this year.”
There will be a goal-scoring void left by the departure of players such as MacLean, Ally Vanidestine, Jordan Seekins and Jackie Veilleux.
Alli Boulier had 15 goals and four assists as a sophomore a year ago and will be counted upon to lead the attack but Johnson feels he has plenty of potential goal scorers to complement her.
“We’ve got a lot of hungry kids … a lot of young kids ready to step up,” said Johnson. “Having eight or nine kids score around 10 goals would be awesome. And the way we pass and possess the ball, it’s possible. It’s always good when you’re balanced anyway.”
“We’re very deep,” noted senior fullback Anna Morris.
“We have a lot of players who can contribute and score if they get in the right position,” concurred Boulier.
The defense will be bolstered by the return of shutdown senior outside back Tiffany Gray, who missed all of last season after having knee surgery.
“She is one of the better defenders in the state and any time you can get somebody like that back you’ve got to be happy,” said Johnson.
“Things are going good,” said Gray, who is wearing a knee brace. “I’m getting back into game shape. The team is working hard, and I think we’re going to be good.”
Seniors Emily Brookings and Emily Smith join Morris and Gray in the back and senior Morgan Campbell and freshman Grace Morris, Anna’s sister, will also see duty on defense and freshman Tanner Tripp is another possibility.
Senior Katerina Dagher and juniors Eve George and Anna-Maria Dagher, Katerina’s sister, will provide some scoring options in the midfield as will sophomore Sarah Bragg. Junior Amy Fahey and Brookings will see some time in the midfield, and sophomore Emma Barnett and freshman Megan Conner are also in the picture.
Boulier and Butler will be the strikers in Johnson’s 4-4-2 alignment with Katerina Dagher also getting some time up top.
The goalkeepers will be sophomore Emily Gilmore, a transfer from Brewer, and freshman Maddie Hodgdon.
“They both look very good. It’s nice to get two kids in there who are very athletic,” said Johnson.
“They’re young but they’re on top of it. They look awesome. We’re very excited about them,” said Anna Morris.
Boulier said the Rams are anxious to get another crack at a state title after last year’s heartbreaking loss to Scarborough.
“We want to get back and we’re working hard to do that,” said Boulier, who doesn’t expect to have any additional pressure on her in the wake of MacLean’s departure.
“I’m just looking to improve myself and try to help the team out the best I can,” said Boulier, who had a hat trick in Bangor’s 4-2 win over archrival Hampden Academy in their Eastern Maine Class A title game.