The Waterville High School girls soccer team is having a terrific first season in Class B after being a perennial power in Class A.
The Purple Panthers took a 13-0 record into Tuesday’s regular season finale against Oceanside of Thomaston-Rockland and had outscored its opponents 81-2.
Waterville had won nine of its 13 games by at least five goals.
The Panthers had a solid 7-4-4 campaign in their final season in Class A last fall with a youthful team, losing to Mt. Blue of Farmington in the quarterfinals.
Coach Ian Wilson has put the move to Class B into perspective.
“Class A teams have a higher-percentage of premier [club team] players. They have more committed year-round soccer players. You have more kids who play three sports in ‘B’ which, in some ways, is kind of nice,” said Wilson.
The competition certainly hasn’t been as demanding in Class B but Wilson noted that Waterville is Class B in virtually every other sport and the Panthers are playing schools that are long-time Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference rivals like Winslow, Gardiner and Camden Hills.
Wilson said some of his players would have liked to have had another crack at the Class A schools this season but said playing in Class A a year ago was extremely beneficial.
“We didn’t win as many games as we wanted to but we saw a lot of growth and that laid the groundwork for our success this season,” said Wilson.
The Panthers have been led by midfielders Lydia Roy and Sarah Shoulta, who are both juniors. The defense is “much improved over a year ago” thanks to the play of backs Morgann Tortorella and Jayme Saulter. Tortorella is a junior and Saulter is a senior.
Sophomore Gabi Martin has been stellar in goal and junior Pilar Elias, who transferred from Winslow, is one of the state’s leading scorers with 39 goals.