Wednesday, March 12, 2014
By Paul Betit firstname.lastname@example.org
Familiarity is supposed to breed contempt, but when it comes to the Western Maine boys’ and girls’ soccer championship games, it could blossom into some real good games.
Austin Nowinski, left, is one of the Greely players hoping for a big game Wednesday when the Rangers meet Yarmouth for the regional title.
Every final in the Western Class A and B tournaments matches teams that met at least once this season.
Is that an advantage to either team?
“It’s always good for a coach to see the opposition he’s playing,” Cape Elizabeth girls’ coach Craig Fannan said. “You think about what the other team is going to do and you think about what you’re going to do to counter that.”
The No. 1 Capers (13-2-1) will be home against No. 2 Greely (11-4-1) in the Western Class B girls’ final.
The teams split two games during the regular season: On Sept. 21, Cape won 2-1 at Cumberland and on Oct. 12, Greely won 3-2 at Cape Elizabeth.
“There’s no advantage,” Greely Coach Josh Muscadin said. “It’s high school soccer and you never know who comes to play sometimes. As a coach, you hope your players are ready and prepared, physically and mentally. We know what to do. We just have to play the game.”
In the Western Class B boys’ final, No. 2 Greely (12-2-2) will play at top-seeded Yarmouth (13-0-3).
On Sept 10, Yarmouth rallied to score two goals in the final 18 minutes in a 2-2 tie with the Rangers in Cumberland.
On Oct. 16, Yarmouth cruised to a 4-1 victory at home.
“When we played them the second time, we tried to downplay (the loss) a little bit and say the third time is what matters the most,” Greely Coach Mike Andreasen said. “What hurts is that they were so dominant the second time.
“In a game like that, you see what you don’t do well and they showed us what we don’t do well. They exploited our weaknesses and we obviously have had to go back to the drawing board.”
“The second game was a bit of a fluke,” Yarmouth Coach Mike Hagerty said. “I expect the final to be a one-goal game either way. The last time we played them we got them on a day where we played a great game and they didn’t play at their best. I have a feeling both teams will be at their best (Wednesday).”
The Western Class A championship games for both boys and girls feature teams that have already played each other once this season.
No. 3 Thornton Academy (14-1-1) will be at top-seeded Windham (15-0-1) in the girls’ final.
On Sept 21, Windham defeated the Trojans 1-0 at home.
“It gives you some familiarity,” Thornton Coach Chris Kohl said. “Both of us will have to make some adjustments based on the first game we played against each other.”
At this stage of the season, there’s just not much a coach can do, Kohl said.
“You’re not going to blow up everything you’ve done through the whole season,” he said. “That’s not fair to the kids. You just tweak things here and there.”
In the Western Class A boys’ final, No. 3 Portland (12-2-1) will take the short trip across the Fore River to play top-seeded Scarborough (15-1).
On Sept. 10, the Bulldogs beat the Red Storm 1-0 in Scarborough.
“In our case, I don’t think there’s an advantage to either team because it was our second game of the season and so much has changed for both teams since then,” Scarborough Coach Mark Diaz said.
“My players haven’t forgotten that game but if you look at Portland, they’ve got a lot of players playing in different positions.”
In the Western Class C girls’ final, No. 10 Sacopee Valley (9-8) travels to Portland to play No. 5 Waynflete (13-2-2), the reigning state champion. The Flyers beat Sacopee twice this season.
“We play them twice, sometimes three times, every year, and they’re usually a good team and they play us strong,” Waynflete Coach Todd Dominski said.
The Hawks have logged nearly 700 miles during the regional tournament to register wins over higher-seeded Carrabec, Madison and Maranacook, teams they didn’t play during the regular season.
“Having the unfamiliarity of those teams I think has been an advantage,” Sacopee Coach Kevin Murphy said, “but having already played your opponent twice when you get this deep into (the tournament) you know what you’ve got to do.”
Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: email@example.com