While Scarborough, Massabesic, Falmouth, Cheverus and Marshwood have established themselves as the top five teams in the Western Class A field hockey Heal point standings, the next five teams are a tightly packed bunch.
Over the next two weeks the schedule is loaded with head-to-head meetings between Bonny Eagle, Thornton Academy, Biddeford, Westbrook and Gorham.
Thornton appears the class of the teams ranked 6-10, based on close, one-goal losses to Scarborough (9-0), Massabesic (8-1) and Marshwood (7-2).
But look out for Biddeford, which hosts Thornton on Oct. 8. The Tigers are unexpectedly on the rise, having won four straight to improve to 6-3. Last week Biddeford won three straight, beating Gorham, Portland and Sanford in tight contests.
The Tigers were 3-9-2 a year ago.
“I think Gorham might have been a turning point,” Biddeford Coach Leslie Mourmouras said. “I think the girls realized, ‘Wow, we can win games against these better teams and it feels good.’
“I think the league in general has a lot of similar, scrappy teams. Everyone can go into a game feeling they can win. The aggressiveness is definitely there. A lot of teams, my team included, may not have the best skills but they make up for it with hustle and aggressiveness.”
Mourmouras said the Tigers’ increased competitiveness has stemmed from midfielders Abbie Paquette, a junior, and Alex Quigley, a senior captain. Sophomore Charlotte White had four goals last week, including a pair against Gorham.
“Abbie Paquette has been so instrumental in getting us where we are. She has the ability to modify her game based on our opponents,” Mourmouras said. “She can play the long ball to our fast forward line, or if we need more defense she can hang back and help our backs.”
CREDIT MASSABESIC Coach Michelle Martin-Moore for pointing out a valid learning lesson. Credit her team for taking it to heart.
After the Mustangs beat McAuley 12-0 early last week, a few players expressed in the postgame meeting they wished they had seen a tougher opponent heading into a showdown with Cheverus.
“I said we can learn from every team and the one thing we learned from the McAuley team, and we talked about it, was they never let anything bother them. They’re out there losing by big margins and they’re out there enjoying the game.”
The Mustangs have shown a tendency in past seasons to get tight in big games and underperform. But they beat Cheverus 1-0 with a suffocating second-half effort.
“We really learned a lot from (McAuley),” senior Lexi Foglio said. “We learned to play as a team, play together and just do it for the love of the sport.”
McAuley has not won a game since 2011.
“You know what? They were positive the entire time,” Foglio said. “Before this game we said, go by what McAuley did. They may not have had the outcome that they wanted but they played together, they worked as a team and they never got frustrated so that’s what we tried to do today.”
By the way, McAuley’s Julia Bailinson scored the Lions’ first goal of the season in a 6-1 loss to Noble. It was Noble’s first win as Marissa Goodrich scored four goals.
THERE ARE several interesting matchups this week featuring teams from outside the SMAA and Western Maine Conference.
Defending Class C champ Lisbon (7-1-1) is at Spruce Mountain (8-0-1) Tuesday. The two teams played to a 1-1 tie in the opener. Spruce Mountain is currently No. 2 in the Western B standings behind York. Lisbon is atop the Western C standings (with North Yarmouth Academy on its heels).
Oceanside is off to a 7-2 start and is currently fourth in the Eastern B standings. The Mariners are at league-leader Nokomis (9-0) on Friday.
TIME FOR a Skowhegan update: The Indians are undefeated, have set a state record for consecutive wins (66) and have outscored their opponents 80-1. So much for it being a “down” year after graduating seven starters. Dexter held the old record of 63 straight wins, set from 2000-03.
Staff Writer Steve Craig can be contacted at 791-6413 or at:
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