Friday, December 6, 2013
By Mike Lowe firstname.lastname@example.org
Waynflete High's boys' soccer team lost its first game of the season last Saturday, an 8-2 wipeout at undefeated Richmond, the top-ranked team in Western Class D.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Connor Reagan, Gorham senior: Scored three goals to lead the Rams to a 5-0 win against Marshwood. In his first 11 games, Reagan scored a team-high 11 goals.
Eli Breed, Cape Elizabeth junior: Scored two goals and had an assist in a 4-1 win against Freeport.
Austin Downing, Scarborough senior: Scored two goals and had an assist in a 5-0 win against Sanford.
Pat Gassman, Kennebunk freshman: Scored with two minutes left in overtime to lift the Rams to a 1-0 win against Portland.
AREA TOP FIVE
5. Mt. Ararat
Flyers Coach Brandon Salway didn't seem overly concerned. The Western Class C playoffs await, and he wants to make sure his third-ranked Flyers are ready.
"We're almost already in playoff mode," said Salway.
"I'm not so much concerned about the results of these last few games. It's more about getting the most out of what we have. It's about competing and playing tough for 80 minutes, or 90, or whatever it takes."
The Flyers certainly play a schedule designed to prepare them for the playoffs, competing against teams in every class.
In addition to playing six games against Class C schools (their Western Maine Conference Class C contemporaries, Sacopee Valley, Traip Academy and North Yarmouth Academy), the Flyers play five games against Class B schools, one against a Class D school and two against Class A schools.
In fact, Waynflete closes its schedule with games against Class A Greely (Wednesday, after a postponement on Tuesday), Class B Lake Region (Thursday) and Class A Cape Elizabeth (Monday). Greely is ranked seventh in Class A, Cape 10th, so wins over either would be huge in the Heal point standings.
"Obviously you want to win and you want those Heal points," said Salway.
"But I think we've learned the last few years that we're going to fall where we fall Heal-point wise and maybe we're going to have to go on the road to win a playoff game.
"I think being battle-tested is more important. Even if we finish third or fourth instead of one or two, I'd rather have it this way."
Meaning, he wants to play the Class A schools heading into the tournament, even if the Flyers lose.
"It's good for you to get quality opponents," he said. "You always want to win or get the result, but this time of year is more about getting ready for the playoffs. I'm thrilled this is the end of our schedule and that we're playing quality teams."
The Flyers (9-1-1) have been led this season by senior striker Peabo Knoth, "who puts pressure on opposition defenders and opens space for everyone on the field," according to Salway.
Waynflete has also had a new goalkeeper recently. Senior Zander Majercik has missed the last four games with a broken finger, replaced by freshman Tommy Silk.
And as far as Saturday's loss, Salway said it could have beneficial effects. "Maybe the loss refocuses us a little bit."
FREEPORT IS fighting for the final berth in Western Class B. Entering Tuesday, the Falcons (2-8-2) were 12th with 21.0459 Heal points, trailing Oak Hill (21.4286) for that 11th and final spot.
Freeport lost to fourth-ranked York 3-0 on Tuesday and has games with No.7 Gray-New Gloucester and No.9 Fryeburg Academy remaining.
"The opportunity for us is there," said Falcons Coach Joe Heathco. "If we can get one result from those games, it will put us in a good spot to move on. But those will be tough games."
Heathco said his message to his players is simple: "Our margin for error is very small. For us to be successful, we just have to trust each other, play with intensity and play smart."
Senior center midfielder Parker Matheson has led the Falcons. Freshman Jack Davenport has been a strong contributor at outside mid or outside back. "We feel we can play with anyone," said Heathco. "When we play well, we are tough because we see good soccer day in and day out. There's a lot of parity out there."
SEVERAL BIG games remain that could shake up the Western Class A and B Heal standings.
On Thursday, Freeport is at Fryeburg (3:30 p.m.), South Portland at Portland (5 p.m.) and Greely at Yarmouth (6 p.m.)
On Saturday, Greely plays at Falmouth (6:15 p.m.) and York is at Yarmouth (6 p.m.). The regular season ends next Tuesday.
Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at: