There’s been a boys’ soccer revitalization in Eastern Class A and this year Morse has become a part of the movement.

Traditionally, Bangor and Brunswick have established themselves as the region’s premier teams, but the Shipbuilders will be among the region’s top teams when the playoffs begin with the preliminary round Friday.

“There’s real parity, and we’ve seen it week in and week out,” Morse Coach Tom Rackmales said.

“The top 12 teams have really taken turns knocking each other off. In terms of being a soccer fan, it really says good things about soccer in Maine. We’re seeing the sport move a bit from its traditional hotbeds, where it will always be strong. But it’s nice to see the quality moving.”

Rackmales points to two factors that have helped Morse’s success – a core group of experienced players and foreign students who have made contributions.

“The seniors in particular, they’ve bought into the program,” Rackmales said.

“When you have veteran leadership on a team, that makes a coach’s job a lot easier. That buy-in helped lay a foundation in the summer and in the preseason for the success we’ve had now.”

In addition to P.C. Ostergaard, whose father was an exchange student at Mt. Ararat in the 1980s and returned to live in Maine, the Shipbuilders have a pair of exchange students on this year’s team – Magnus Lilleaas and Flemming Milke.

“We’re a small program but we’re fortunate to have some foreign exchange students who have brought a very high level of play,” Rackmales said. “We had skill already, but these players have really meshed well with the team.”

Entering its final game Tuesday at Lewiston, Morse is 9-4 and having one of its most successful seasons.

Earlier this season, the Shipbuilders earned their first victory in 16 years against Brunswick, a 4-1 win Oct. 12.

“A win like that one, and even our first loss to them (a 1-0 loss on Sept. 21), it gave us confidence because that was a well-played game overall,” said Rackmales.

“Programs like Brunswick, Mt. Ararat and Lewiston are perennial contenders, and when they see results like they have this year, it lets our players know that we’re on the right track.”

 

GREATER PORTLAND Christian’s shot at qualifying for the Western Class D playoffs went down to the wire.

It went to Tuesday morning, when the Lions awaited one final score to be entered in the Maine Principals’ Association’s database – Chop Point’s 5-0 loss to Acadia Christian.

“We went to Islesboro (on Monday) thinking we needed a tie to get in, and we tied and thought that got us in,” Coach Chris Spaulding said, referring to Monday’s 2-2 tie with the Eagles.

“Then we saw that Buckfield and Vinalhaven had tied, and that was a worst-case scenario for us.”

The Lions earned the No. 4 seed and will be home against fifth-seeded Buckfield in a regional quarterfinal tentatively scheduled for 3 p.m. Oct. 27 at Wainwright Fields in South Portland.

“This is huge for us,” Spaulding said.

“This is the first year we did a summer program with the soccer team, and we had a full preseason, and that’s a big step for the program. The boys embraced it and our goal was to make the playoffs.”

 

Staff Writer Rachel Lenzi can be reached at 791-6415 or at: [email protected]