HERMON, Maine — When he was the boys soccer coach at Bangor High School, Adam Leach had two teams with 13-0-1 records during the regular season.
He finally recorded an unblemished record this season as his Hermon High School girls soccer team finished the regular season Monday at 14-0. Leach coached at Bangor from 1999-2007.
The defending Eastern Maine Class B titlist Hawks and Waterville, which is in its first season in B after dropping down from Class A, are vying for the top seed with the other being the No. 2 seed.
“It’s exciting having the first one like this,” said Leach referring to the perfect record.
He considers it a significant accomplishment because “soccer, probably more so than in other sports, is a game you can dominate but still lose.
“You’re bound to have a bad day or give up a bad goal or you have to battle the weather,” Leach said.
Even more impressively, his team allowed only one goal while scoring 71.
“Allowing one goal in 14 games becomes a badge of honor for them. It’s not how many you score, it’s how long can you keep your net empty,” said Leach whose team’s only goal allowed came in a 5-1 victory over Old Town on Sept. 24.
“To allow just one goal is definitely something to be proud of,” said talented junior central midfielder Claire Petersen. “We have a really strong defense and the midfielders can usually get back in time to help out.”
“We’ve improved a lot and we have a lot more experience,” said senior back Amanda Allen. “Kaitlin [Saulter], Maddie [Page], Molly [Roy] and I have played together since fifth or sixth grade. And a lot of us have played premier [club team] soccer.”
Leach said another reason his team has 13 shutouts is “teams pack it in [with a lot of players in their penalty area] or put an extra player on defense so they don’t have much of an offensive punch.”
Presque Isle played a structured defensive scheme against Hermon and held it to four goals in two games, losing 1-0 and 3-0.
The Hawks are an aggressive, ball-control team and Leach said “when we have the ball, it helps offensively and defensively. And we have good balance all over the field.”
“We’ve always been a good passing team,” said Allen who added that midfielders Petersen, Morgan Buck and Brianna Saulter control a game with their presence and skill.
Leach said he has also been blessed with “a special group of kids.”
“They’re played together for so long. They approach every game and every practice the same way. They are so consistent. And they don’t let their emotions get to them. They stay relatively calm and that makes it so difficult to get them off their game,” said Leach.
The Hawks have featured a balanced attack led by dynamic senior Kaitlin Saulter, who has 21 goals and 13 assists.
Junior striker-outside midfielder Savannah Allain has 13 and 6, freshman Brianna Saulter, Kaitlin’s sister, has 11 and 4 from her central midfield position; Petersen has 10 and 3 and right midfielder Roy has 8 and 11.
“We’ve had a lot more people be able to step up and score goals for us,” said Petersen.
“Kaitlin has really elevated her game. She is so unselfish. She makes so much use of her teammates now. Everything offensively feeds off where she is,” said Leach.
Buck has been an important cog as the central midfielder and freshman marking backs Emi Higgins and Sierra Snow had not only defended well, Leach said, “they have added more of a ball possession twist to our backs. They’re very skillful. Our backs are as skilled as our midfielders.”
Page and Allen supply the veteran presence in the back in front of vastly improved sophomore goalie Bryanne Crouse, who has had to make “five or six critical saves” according to Leach.
Hermon will open the playoffs by hosting a quarterfinal next Tuesday.