Bucksport junior striker Ella Hosford admitted that setting the state’s single-season soccer goal-scoring record never crossed her mind.
But that is exactly what she has done in leading her Bucks to a 14-0 season and a date in the Class B North quarterfinals against Orono.
“I didn’t think it would be even close to possible. But my team made it possible,” said the humble Hosford, who has scored 59 goals, two more than previous record-holder Shelby Pickering (2003) from Lee Academy.
But the 5-foot-1 Hosford isn’t just a goal scorer. She also has 31 assists.
“She is very, very unselfish,” said Bucksport coach Mike Garcelon. “When you have a girl like that, she makes everyone else around her better.”
Garcelon said Hosford “works very hard” at the game during the offseason as well as during the season.
“She is a better passer than people think,” said Orono High coach Cid Dyjak. “She is a very good player. She is very crafty.”
Hosford has played travel soccer for River City in Bangor since she was 9 and also lifts weights and works out on her own.
“She isn’t overly tall but she is strong. She is able to get away [from defenders] and she has become much more clever with the ball,” said Garcelon, who has been coaching soccer for 30 years. “She has good speed and amazing soccer intelligence. She is the most well-rounded player I have ever coached.”
Hosford said she has benefited from having two important role models in her life: older sisters Eliza and Zoe.
They also played at Bucksport High and Ella had the opportunity to play her freshman year with senior Zoe.
“I used to go around watching them play all the time,” Ella said. “I saw how they played. I always wanted to have the ball on my foot, too.”
Hosford said her time spent with River City has been valuable because she gets to train with some of the best players in the area and go up against southern Maine teams, which “makes me elevate my game.”
River City director of coaching M.J. Ball, who is also the Hermon High School girls coach, said that Hosford understands the game and is “very athletic.”
He also said that unlike a lot of players, she focuses on the placement of her shots instead of the power on it.
“She puts the ball in the corners,” Ball said.
Dyjak added that Hosford is accurate with her shots — she has 84 career goals — and that she’s tough to defend.
“I’ve been working on being calm in front of the goal and not rushing things,” the 16-year-old Hosford said.
The youngest of three daughters raised by Ralph and Jessy Hosford said her team is special and they have their eyes set on a state championship.
“We all get along so well together,” said Hosford, who added that she and her teammates have been playing together since middle school.
Hosford also noted that they are a team that wears opponents down with their speed.
“We have track stars on our team,” she said.
Garcelon credited assistant coach Sarah Lanpher with encouraging the players to join Matt Morrison’s Bucksport High School track team and said it has paid dividends.
Complementing Hosford in the scoring department are sophomore striker Natasha Monreal and junior attacking midfielder Allie Pickering. Monreal has 22 goals and 7 assists and Pickering has 12 goals and 21 assists.
“We have nine players who have multiple goals,” said Garcelon, whose team has outscored its opponents 130-8.
The midfield is where you will find the only two seniors on the Bucksport roster in Johanna Stiles and Alyx Frazzell. Lily Chevelli, a sophomore, also starts in the midfield.
Stiles has registered 10 goals and 11 assists.
Junior Lanie Stubbs has anchored the back line in front of freshman goalie Jetta Shook. She is joined by reliable sweeper Nettie Fox, a sophomore, and backs Riley Coombs and Alyssa Maguire. Coombs is a junior and Maguire is a sophomore.
“[The backs] were very protective of Jetta early. They tried to keep shots away from her. But now she can hold her own. She has saved 35 of the 39 shots she has faced,” Garcelon said.
He has 19 players in most games and the ones who have received the most time off the bench have been cousins Ashley Cyr and Sammy Cyr, Meg Morrison and Kaylee Hallett.
Garcelon said he has been very fortunate to have a top-notch coaching staff including Lanpher, goalie coach Bill Eberhardt and former Bucks head coach Jack Gordon.
Bucksport has never won a state title but did reach the Class B state final in 2002, losing to Falmouth 2-1.
Entering the 2019 season, Bucksport had posted just one winning season in the previous six campaigns.
But the Bucks went 11-5 that season with the Hosford sisters and reached the semifinals.
“That’s when we really started to build the program,” said Garcelon, who is in his 10th season as the head coach at Bucksport.
They went 8-1 in the COVID-19-abbreviated 2020 season where teams played in local pods.
And the Bucks may be a contender for a long time to come.
Garcelon said he had 27 players involved in the summer program and he has an excellent group of eighth graders coming on board next fall.