June 20, 2018
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Stingy defense propels Camden Hills girls soccer team to 6-0-1 start

By Larry Mahoney, BDN Staff

ROCKPORT, Maine — The Camden Hills High School girls soccer team graduated 11 players, including eight starters, off last year’s 13-3 team that reached the Eastern Maine Class B semifinals, where it lost to eventual EM titlist Hermon 1-0.

In addition, junior defensive midfielder Hannah Wincklhofer, who marked Hermon star Kaitlin Saulter and held her off the scoreboard in the semifinal loss, was lost for the season after tearing her anterior cruciate ligament playing lacrosse last spring. She had surgery in July.

But entering Tuesday’s game at Mount View of Thorndike, the Windjammers were 6-0-1 and one of only five undefeated teams among 67 schools in all four Eastern Maine classes.

The others unbeatens were Class A Bangor (7-0-0), fellow Class B title contenders Waterville (8-0-0) and Hermon (6-0-0) and Class C Orono (6-0-1).

Camden Hills will host Waterville on Oct. 18.

One of the primary reasons behind Camden Hills’ success is its stingy defense.

The Windjammers have allowed only two goals, one against Medomak Valley of Waldoboro in a 7-1 victory and the other in a 2-1 win over Morse High of Bath.

Meredith Messer, who is in her 18th season coaching the Windjammers, said she has a lot of seniors doing “a lot of unglorified work on defense” in front of junior goalkeeper Rachel Pease.

The five seniors who anchor the stout defensive effort are Grace Hayward, Hannah Corney, Kaitlyn York, Biz Pree and Natalie Hamalainen.

Corney and York are Messer’s defensive midfielders; Hayward and Pree are the wing fullbacks and Hamalainen is the center back. Pree was an attacking midfielder a year ago and her vision and attacking sense gives her team an offensive presence in the back.

Hayward has also filled in at center back for Hamalainen, who was expected back in the lineup against Mount View after missing a few games due to injury.

The Windjammers are much younger in the midfield and up front and a healthy portion of their 30 goals have been scored by freshmen and sophomores.

Freshman striker Bryn Anderson, sophomore striker Emma Gutheinz and sophomore attacking midfielder Katheryn Snyder have combined for more than 20 goals and freshman attacking midfielder Charlotte Messer, Meredith’s daughter, has chipped in with “four or five goals and five assists” according to her mom.

Senior Addie Drinkwater and freshman Izzy Gutheinz, Emma’s sister, have been productive from their wing midfield positions and senior Lea Smith is another effective striker.

Another plus for this team is its speed at every position.

“In years past, I had to figure out how to contain other teams’ speed. We had to really execute tactically,” said Messer. “This year, I have the luxury of so much speed. And we’re learning how to use it. It is one of the fastest teams I have had here. We have great balance with our speed across the field.”

Messer also has the good fortune of having a goalkeeper “who is nearly six-foot-two.”

“Rachel transferred to the high school and tried out as a field player. I told her she needed to be a goalie and she said, ‘OK,” said Messer. “She took her lumps at the beginning of last year but she has come along. She’s a fast learner. She works on adding a piece to her game every week.”

Messer has guided her Windjammers to a couple of Eastern Maine championship game appearances but she is still looking for her first EM title and is hoping her team can continue to improve.

Despite having eight seniors on this year’s roster, the future continues to look bright.

“We reinstituted a freshman team this year,” said Messer, who also has a JV team. “We have 17 freshmen and 16 sophomores playing right now.”

Noble enjoying busy season

John Bapst High School field hockey goalie Karen Noble has been busier than ever this season.

The team is in a rebuilding mode after standout Elise Tilton graduated and took her skills to the University of Pennsylvania. Sister Emily Tilton graduated two years ago and is a sophomore on the University of Vermont’s roster.

But junior Noble, who has held opponents to one goal or less seven times in 10 games, said she is enjoying her season despite the Crusaders’ 3-7 record. She has allowed two goals in two of the other three games.

“It’s fun to win but it’s also fun to get a lot of shots,” said Noble. “The best games are the ones in which I get a lot of shots. I know coach [Gina Schuck] will disagree with me. But it’s fun.”

“She’s a very good goalie,” said Foxcroft Academy coach Stephanie Smith after watching Noble make nine saves in her team’s recent 2-0 win over the Crusaders.

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