FREEPORT’S NATE THOMAS (24) has his eyes on the ball during a late-season WMC contest against Greely at Hunter Road Fields in Freeport. The Falcons, the No. 8 seed, host No. 9 Oak HIll in a Class B South prelim at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

FREEPORT’S NATE THOMAS (24) has his eyes on the ball during a late-season WMC contest against Greely at Hunter Road Fields in Freeport. The Falcons, the No. 8 seed, host No. 9 Oak HIll in a Class B South prelim at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

As the leaves change and the air begins to chill, area boys soccer teams prepare for the playoffs, beginning with the preliminary round this weekend.

Brunswick, Mt. Ararat, Freeport, Lisbon and Richmond are all lined up for postseason play.

With the regular season concluding earlier this week, teams took to the practice fields to prepare for their opponents.

“We go back and re-establish our conditioning,” said Richmond head coach Peter Gardner. “We try to keep them sharp and motivated during this period between games.”

Beyond the conditioning piece, teams prepare for their opponent and decide what type of offense and defensive style to play. Teams will also be working on their set pieces, corner kicks, indirect and direct kicks and any other plays they may have established, something that may give them that edge in a close playoff game.

“This time of year, you have to prepare for every situation,” said Mt. Ararat head coach Jack Rioux.

Here’s a look at each class of our local teams:

Class A North

No. 4 Mt. Ararat (7-4-3) takes on No. 5 Mt. Blue (8-4- 2) on Wednesday in Topsham at 6 p.m.

The Eagles finished 3-1-1 in their final four games. The only blemish came to the Cougars earlier this month in Farmington, losing 3-1.

Losing their leading scorer Travis Nadeau to a knee injury earlier in the season, the Eagles looked elsewhere for offense.

“We became very defensive minded,” said Rioux. “Our players knew they had to give up less since they won’t be getting as many goals with Travis out.”

Last season, the Eagles lost to Bangor, 2-1, in the Class A North semifinals. Bangor is the No. 1 seed and will host No. 8 Cony in a quarterfinal.

“We have some experience and that helps us out,” said Rioux. “This group of juniors have played right along since they were freshman, so there is experience there.”

No. 7 Brunswick travels to No. 2 Lewiston on Wednesday. The Dragons lost both meetings with the Blue Devil (10-2-2) this season, 3-0 and 2-1.

After starting the season 0-5, the Dragons ended the season 7-1-1, earning them a playoff spot.

“We played Lewiston tight last week, but we couldn’t get the result we wanted,” said coach Mark Roma. “We will need to play quicker and take advantage of any chances we get.”

Roma looks to lean on his seniors, especially captains Henry Doherty and Jared Hummer to keep his team focused leading up to game time.

“The seniors have played big all year, and if we can put together 80 minutes of soccer like I know this team is capable of, we can finally get the results we need,” Roma said.

The winner will face the survivor between No. 3 Edward Little and No. 6 Camden Hills.

Class B South

No. 8 Freeport (8-6) hosts No. 9 Oak Hill (5-7-2) at Hunter Road Fields at 1 p.m. on Saturday in a Class B South prelim match.

The winner will advance to play top-seeded Yarmouth (14-0) next Wednesday.

Heading into the game, the Falcons have won three of their last four, out-scoring their opponents 17-4 during that span.

The Falcons have made strides in the postseason over the past few years. In 2015, Freeport entered the postseason as the No. 9 team, losing to Cape Elizabeth, 2-1, in a preliminary game. Last year, the Falcons again was seeded ninth, but this time upended Lincoln Academy in the preliminary game. They fell to Maranacook in the quarterfinals.

The Morse Shipbuilders finished 13th in the Heal Point Standings with a 2-11-1 record (the top 11 made the postseason), including a 5-0 victory over Oceanside in the season finale.

Class C South

In Class C South, No. 6

Lisbon (8-4-2) travels to No. 3 Hall-Dale (12-1-1) on Wednesday.

The Greyhounds dropped a 2-0 match against the Bulldogs back in September in Farmingdale.

Lisbon is 4-2-1 in its last seven games, with its only defeats coming to the hands of Monmouth. Last season, the Greyhounds fell to the Mustangs, 1-0 in the regional finals.

Class D South

No. 1 Richmond (13-1) will await the winner of the prelim match between Rangeley and Greater Portland Christian. The quarterfinal match is tentatively set for Wednesday at Richmond.

The Bobcats are used to postseason play in recent years. In 2014, the Bobcats lost in the state championship to Bangor Christian Academy, 2- 1 on penalty kicks. The following year, they lost to Buckfield, 1-0 in the Class D South final. Last year, the Bobcats made it to the Class D South final again, before falling Greenville, 2-1, in penalty kicks.

Since there are no ties in the playoffs, Gardner looks for players that can convert penalty kicks.

“We look at everyone to see if they are capable of making a PK,” said Gardner. “We want to make sure it’s something the player wants to do and is mentally prepared for it.”

Richmond has outscored its opponents 65-9 this season, including eight shutouts.

“We know what we need to do to keep playing,” said Gardner. “And that is keeping up the good work we’ve done all season in both practices and games.”

Wiscasset’s season ended this week, finishing 1-13, with an early-season win versus Dirigo.


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