Old Orchard Beach seniors Brianna Plante, Kaitlyn Cote and Maegan Halle have been key to the Seagulls' strong start this season. Pat McDonald/Journal Tribune

Old Orchard Beach seniors Brianna Plante, Kaitlyn Cote and Maegan Halle have been key to the Seagulls’ strong start this season. Pat McDonald/Journal Tribune

By PAT McDONALD
Sports Editor
Senior leadership. It’s something every high school coach — no matter what sport — would love to have.
Old Orchard Beach girls soccer coach Heath Floyd certainly has it this season as the Seagulls’ roster features 11 seniors, including six in the starting lineup.
“It’s a really big group and a big group for the school with all the athletics. They’ve been great for the four years,” said Floyd of his seniors. “They had a one-win season three years ago to then making the playoffs last year and having a really rough (playoff) outing against Sacopee. This year we are in the playoff hunt and we could make a deep run depending on matchups. They’ve done a really good job of keeping everyone together and staying positive.”
Two of the senior leaders for OOB are Brianna Plante and Maegan Halle, who are both strikers and also spend some time in the midfield for the Lady Gulls.
“This year’s been good. There’s a lot of seniors so we’re finally starting to put together the pieces that we’ve needed to succeed over the past four years. There’s a lot of camaraderie throughout the whole team,” said Plante.
Halle is hoping to make the most of her senior campaign.
“I guess (it has been) kind of nerve-wracking because you want the season to be perfect because it’s your last one,” said Halle. “I mean it’s awesome even though we know it’s coming to an end pretty soon, we are enjoying every last minute of it.”
Floyd has been impressed with the play of Halle and Plante so far this season.
“They’ve done a good job of finishing off the opportunities that they’ve had. It would be nice if we could finish off a couple more of those, but they’ve done a really good job of kind of beating the defense. We play the ball through and they do a good job of communicating with each other,” said Floyd.
While Halle and Plante have been key to the Seagulls’ scoring, the duo can also control play in the midfield, according to Floyd.
“They also play the midfield quite a bit so when they are in the mid together we can really control the game, but we lose a bit offensively as far as goal scoring threats when both of them are back,” said Floyd.
The biggest surprise this season for the Seagulls has been the play of senior Kaitlyn Cote, who is in her first season as OOB’s goalie.
“We pretty much had the same personnel coming back from last year minus our all-conference goalie (Tiffany Leclair). We kind of had an open tryout and (Cote) volunteered,” said Floyd. “She’s always been athletic, good hands, agile, so we kind of threw her in net way back in early summer and we’ve just been peppering her all along. The goalie coach has done a good job with her and she’s done way better than we anticipated, so we’re really happy about that.”
Cote gives credit to the defenders — Zoe Young, Meghan Niedzwiecki, Caitlin Perrigo and Madison LaChance — that help keep shots from coming her way.
“It’s great. Not a lot of teams get a lot of shots on me. I’m so thankful to have them as my defenders,” Cote said.
Halle is thrilled to see Cote have success in her first year as the Seagulls keeper.
“It’s awesome. Kaitlyn came in and surprised us all. She’s so athletic and it’s just been really good knowing that even though it’s her first year, she’s one of the best goalies out there,” said Halle.
Cote has come up huge for the Seagulls this year as she has kept the OOB squad in a lot of close, low-scoring games this season. While the Lady Gulls would love to have a bunch of blowout wins on their resume, they also know that the experience of close games will help them in the postseason.
“I think being in the close games will prepare us for the playoffs because that’s what it’s going to be like,” said Plante.
The experience they have gained this year will obviously be helpful in the postseason, but so will the fact that this group of Seagulls is like a family.
“We’ve all been together for years because we are mostly seniors. Over the years we’ve grown together outside of the team, outside of school and during school, it’s just been great,” said Cote.
“All together as a team we just love each other, on and off the field. We all have close-knit relationships in school and it’s just nice having that on the team in general,” added Halle, who has seen firsthand how relationships are important to being successful on the field. “It’s really good because we are all so supportive of each other. We play against teams that you just notice they bicker all the time … we just kind of look around, and we’re not like that and we’re not used to that because we all love each other.”
The Lady Gulls, who are 6-3-2 on the season, are hoping their experience and close bond will lead them deep into the Class C South playoffs.
“I guess, obviously, make it all the way and come home with a Gold Ball, but just play our hearts out and whatever the outcome is we still have each other,” said Halle of the Seagulls’ goals.
Floyd believes this team has what it takes to make plenty of noise in the postseason.
“We have a chance to make a really deep playoff run,” said Floyd.
— Sports Editor Pat McDonald can be reached at [email protected] or at 282-1535 ext. 322. Follow the Journal Tribune Sports Department on Twitter @JournalTsports.


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