ROCKPORT — Any successful soccer team is strong in the midfield.
The Camden Hills High School girls will be gunning for their second consecutive state Class A championship against Scarborough on Saturday in Portland. The Windjammers’ Krul sisters, Kassie and Kaylyn, look to control the midfield as they have all season long.
Junior Kassie Krul is an attacking midfielder and younger sister Kaylyn Krul, a sophomore, plays right behind her as the holding or defensive midfielder. Kaylyn was a starting center back a year ago.
Camden Hills and Scarborough, both 16-0-1, play at 12:30 p.m. at Deering High School.
“They have field vision and game sense,” said Messer. “They just know when to put the ball long, when to keep the ball short, when to switch fields, when to keep the ball in the same space.”
“They dominate the midfield and that allows us to relax on offense. We always expect a great ball from them,” said Camden Hills sophomore striker Kristina Kelly.
The Kruls’ parents, Robbie and Tammy Krul, are the directors of of the prestigious Dutch Soccer Academy in Maine. Robbie grew up playing soccer in The Netherlands and played at Franklin Pierce College in New Hampshire. There he met Caribou native Tammy (Thibodeau), who was a back on two Franklin Pierce women’s NCAA Division II national championship teams.
Older brother Josiah is a freshman midfielder at Bates College.
“We’ve been playing soccer since birth,” grinned Kassie Krul. “Our dad moved here from Europe and taught us everything he knows. We grew up playing and going to his Dutch Soccer Academy. We loved it. We played it every day.”
“We got to go to all the camps and practices. It was fun,” said Kaylyn.
“The best part was playing with my sister. We’re only one grade apart,” said Kassie.
Their bond is tight. They also play basketball and tennis together at Camden Hills.
“Playing all three sports together is a dream come true,” said Kassie. “We made varsity as freshmen in all three sports and it has been really awesome playing with each other on the same teams.”
Their styles on the soccer field differ. Kassie is a crafty playmaker with exceptional foot skills. Kaylyn is more direct and is a tireless defender who can also launch a counterattack.
“What’s fun for me is winning the ball and give a simple pass to Kassie. She’s always really pretty with the ball. She can get by anyone with her cuts and score,” said Kaylyn.
“Kaylyn does all the dirty work,” said Kassie. “She doesn’t get the credit she deserves. She works really hard at winning balls.”
Both players feel they have elevated their games in the past year.
“I think I’ve developed a lot mentally,” said Kaylyn. “My decisions are a little bit quicker than they were a year ago. It has been a step above.”
“My confidence has grown,” said Kassie. “When I was an underclassman, I relied on other people to do things.”
“They are definitely a threat,” said Bangor High School standout sophomore midfielder Eliza Jansujwicz. “They control the midfield.”
Messer said Kassie Krul has increased her mental focus.
“She gets into a zone out there. She is physically strong which allows her to win balls. When people try to close her down, she just fights through it, comes out on the other side and makes a great pass,” said Messer.
Messer called Kaylyn an exceptional ball-winner.
“She has a great sense of how to use her body to create space for herself and win balls,” said Messer.
The Windjammers likely will have their hands full with a Scarborough team that beat Kennebunk 6-0 in the Class A South final behind Mully Murnane’s three goals.
The Class B girls final pits 14-3 Presque Isle, led by all-time leading scorer Madison Michaud, against 17-0 Yarmouth at 5:30 p.m., also at Deering.
At Hampden Academy, 16-1 Houlton meets 17-1 Madison at 12:30 p.m. in the C title game before 16-1 Ashland and 12-3-2 Richmond square off for the fourth straight year at 5:30 p.m.
Houlton, led by Kolleen Bouchard, Mia Hanning and Aspen Flewelling, is making its first state championship game appearance since 2003 while Madison is making its first-ever showing.
Richmond is playing in its eighth straight D final, having won four of the previous seven. Ashland has claimed the gold ball twice in the last three years including a 2-1 double overtime triumph last fall.
Ashland received three goals from Amber Doughty and two from Amber Chasse to beat Penobscot Valley of Howland 5-1 in the D North final.
Follow BDN Maine Sports on Facebook for the latest in Maine high school and college sports.