In 20 years of coaching soccer, Mike Hagerty of Yarmouth has never had a team with so many injuries.

That could have been the reason the defending Class B state champion Clippers started 0-2. But they regrouped quickly and are on a seven-game unbeaten streak.

Yarmouth (6-2-1) also lost seven starters to graduation, another factor for the slow start.

The Clippers’ first two games were against Cape Elizabeth and York, not exactly slouches.

“The fact that we lost both by the score of 2-1 says a lot about my players’ character,” said Hagerty. “Any given game we’ve had four or five starters out. The four senior starters have been rocks and the young kids have stepped up.”

Two standouts were injured before preseason and lost for the season. Josh Britten, a co-captain, had surgery for a separated shoulder in August. Max Watson, a sophomore, suffered a stress fracture in his back last spring and hasn’t fully recovered.

To make matters worse, Alec Pellerin injured his knee in the opener and was lost for the season.

“We lost three players early, then we had our normal injuries. We’ve used four different formations,” said Hagerty.

The Clippers have had to press freshmen and sophomores into action. After an early indoctrination period, they have performed well.

“The young kids are figuring out their roles and we’re starting to get the injured players back,” said Hagerty.

Helping to hold things together at the start and leading the resurgence have been seniors Sam Torres, goalie Chris Knaub, Ryan Maguire and Eamon Costello.

Knaub, who led the Western Maine Conference with 13 shutouts last season, already has four. Torres started the season at striker but because of injuries, has moved around on the field.

“Sam has had to play three or four different positions,” said Hagerty. “He’s the most versatile player I’ve coached in 20 years.”

With three winning goals, Maguire has been Yarmouth’s top offensive threat. Costello has been a stalwart as a defender.

Juniors Tom Sullivan and Drew Grout are first-year varsity players doing well. Sophomores David Murphy and Ben Decker have held their own as center midfielders.

“I have athletes who are starting to think like soccer players,” said Hagerty.

Two of Yarmouth’s victories were against Class A Greely, 2-0 on Sept. 8 and 2-1 on Sept. 22. On Monday the Clippers shut out Gray-New Gloucester, 3-0.

Two weeks ago, Yarmouth and Freeport played to a scoreless tie in which the Clippers outshot the Falcons, 19-3.

Yarmouth will play Poland on Saturday, then will have an Oct. 4 rematch at Cape Elizabeth.

“I feel Falmouth and York are a little better technically than we are at the moment, but we have a bunch of hard workers,” said Hagerty.

Yarmouth beat Ellsworth 5-1 for the state championship last year.

 

GORHAM HAS a pair of brother combinations in Kevin and Mike Lubelczyk, and Connor and Chandler Reagan. All four are playing vital roles for the Rams, who are one of the top teams in the SMAA.

Connor Reagan, a junior, is the leading scorer again; he was also the team’s leading scorer as a freshman and sophomore. His brother is a freshman and a technically sound player, according to Coach Tim King.

“They’re relentless to the ball,” said King.

The Lubelczyks play the midfield together as second-year starters. Kevin is a senior and Mike a junior.

Two years ago, there was a third Lubelczyk on the team. Colin is now playing at Haverford College in Pennsylvania.

King likes his team’s chances for the rest of the regular season and the playoffs.

“I feel we’re right in there. There are quite a few teams that have a legitimate shot. No one team stands above the rest. I think it’s going to be a wide-open tournament and the quarterfinals should be dynamite,” said King.

 

LIKE ITS rival Yarmouth, Falmouth lost a lot via graduation.

“We lost nine starters,” said Falmouth Coach David Halligan.

The rest of the league isn’t feeling sorry for the Yachtsmen or the Clippers. The two have combined to win every Class B state championship since 2000.

After winning its first two games by wide margins, Falmouth played in three straight 2-1 games and a 1-1 tie. The Yachtsmen beat Cape Elizabeth and York 2-1 before losing by the same score to Yarmouth last Saturday.

Falmouth and Greely tied 1-1 on Monday.

Halligan said the close scores are a reflection of the competitiveness of the top teams.

“It should be a great Western Maine tournament,” he said. “Now that Morse is in Western Class B, it should make it even better.”

 

Staff Writer Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at: [email protected]

Twitter: TomChardPPH