HOWLAND, Maine — The Penobscot Valley High School girls soccer team has reached the Eastern Maine Class D championship game the last two seasons only to be defeated by Van Buren in 2011 and Washburn last fall.
And despite losing leading scorer Bethany Heald and her 21 goals to graduation, fourth-year head coach Ryan Reed said this year’s team has the potential to be the best of his four teams.
The Howlers are currently 9-1 and have outscored their opponents 48-4. Their only loss came at the hands of Class C Piscataquis Community High School in Guilford, which is currently 6-3-1.
“We always seem to struggle with PCHS,” Reed said.
They beat the Pirates 3-2 on Sept. 21 before losing 1-0 nine days later.
But Reid said that loss was a useful one.
“It has definitely been a good thing for us as the season went along. The girls have been more motivated,” he said.
And this year’s team has more offensive weapons.
“We always had one girl who was very strong [who] we relied on for a lot of our goals,” explained Reed. “This team is more balanced.”
PVHS has three players with 10 or more goals.
Sophomore midfielder Arianna McKinnon and junior striker Meghan Howey each have 12 goals, and sophomore midfielder Amy Hallett has 10.
Senior Brittany Moon also gets involved in the attack from her midfield position, while seniors Jenna Hope and Morgan Roy are the defensive midfielders.
There is a lot of experience in the back with seniors Molly McGinn, Shaelyn Jones and Jackie Woodward, along with junior Morgan Moon.
And the goalie is sophomore Sami Ireland, the starter last year and who Reed considers “one of the best keepers around.”
The Howlers also have some quality depth in the likes of striker-midfielder Logan Tozier, a junior; sophomore defender Malloree Workman and speedy freshman midfielder Elizabeth McKinnon.
The future looks bright for PVHS because the team has enough players to play a full junior varsity schedule after playing just a handful of JV games a year ago. And Reid acknowledged that the middle school team is “very strong.”