ROCKPORT, Maine — If the Camden Hills boys soccer team had a weakness last fall that may have spelled the difference between winning its second straight Eastern Maine title and the community’s first state championship since 1991, it may have been converting well-executed plays into goals.
Four matches into the 2013 season, that’s not an issue for the Windjammers.
As an example, Zach Pitcairn had three goals and an assist Tuesday as Camden Hills remained unbeaten with a 10-0 Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B victory over Belfast at Don Palmer Field.
Coach Ryan Hurley’s club is now 4-0, having outscored its opponents by a combined 30-1.
“This year we’ve gotten a lot better at finishing the ball, last year that was one of the struggles we had,” said Camden Hills senior goalkeeper Marshall Spear, whose team has lost to Falmouth 2-1 in the state final each of the last two seasons. “We just could not get the ball in the net, but this year we’ve had no problem so far.”
Pitcairn, who had two goals and an assist Saturday in the Windjammers’ 10-1 win at Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield, scored all three of his goals against Belfast during the first half in staking his team to a 5-0 intermission lead.
Alex Blackwell and Josiah Simkho each added two goals. while Grayson Szumillas, Nick Walker and Richard Vokey also scored in support of Spear, who made four saves to help preserve Camden Hills’ third shutout so far this season.
Peter Vannorsdall and Jack Gallagher each contributed two assists for the ‘Jammers, while Kieran Lydon and Field Leonard had one assist apiece.
“The first half I think we were a little too direct, but the second half I thought we did a better job of slowing things down and possessing the ball,” said Hurley. “We finished well so I’m not going too upset. Ten goals is pretty good, and most of them were pretty good goals.”
Pitcairn collected a long throw-in from Gallagher off his chest and volleyed the ball into the net to give the Windjammers a 1-0 lead early in the first half.
Simkho made it 2-0 before Pitcairn scored again with the final kick in a three-player fast-break down the middle of the field with Simkho and Vannorsdall.
“Peter had it in the box and could have shot it but he played it back to me,” said Pitcairn of his score with 9:47 left in the opening period, the first of three Camden Hills goals during a six-minute span that put the match away.
Belfast (0-3-1) got a stout defensive play from senior tri-captain Evan Schweikert to keep the margin at three goals temporarily, as Simkho took a pass from Blackwell and maneuvered around Belfast goalie Sam Kulikowski, only to have Schweikert race in to kick away an 18-yard, straightaway grounded shot that seemed destined for the net.
Spear made his biggest save a moment later when Lions’ freshman Garrett Hamlin sent a crossing pass from the right wing across the penalty area to Christian Williams, whose one-time bid was smothered by the charging Camden Hills goalie.
The Windjammers made it 4-0 with 5:36 left when Kulikowski took a pass from a defensive teammate and tried to kick the ball away, only to have Blackwell block the attempt and score into an open net.
Pitcairn capped off the first-half scoring with 3:47 remaining, heading in a crossing pass from the right wing by Lydon.
“It was a great cross by Kieran,” said Pitcairn. “I made the run and it was going right by the post. It was an easy flick-in.”
Szumillas, Simkho and Blackwell added goals during the first 10 minutes of the second half before both teams went to their benches.
“There’s been a lot of turnover with some of the teams in the league so they’re younger this year, and in some cases the coaching hasn’t been there for as long so that hurts them while we’re in a situation where things are pretty solid here,” said Hurley. “The nice thing is we go pretty deep and our scrimmages in-house are pretty competitive, and we had such a good preseason that I know where we’re at as far as who we can play with.”
Camden Hills figures to get its toughest challenge to date Saturday morning at neighboring Oceanside of Rockland-Thomaston, which began the week unbeaten and ranked first in the Eastern B Heal points.
Also awaiting the Windjammers is a seven-day stretch later in the season with consecutive matches against Oceanside, Western B power Maranacook of Readfield and Waterville, newly moved to Class B by enrollment after being a competitive Class A squad over the years.
“It’s definitely going to get harder,” said Pitcairn. “We’re off to a good start, and hopefully we can step up to the level we need to and keep performing.”