Richmond defender Bryanne Lancaster (2), here battling a North Yarmouth Academy forward for the ball last season, leads the Bobcats into season-opening action on Saturday against Rangeley. (Bob Conn / The Times Record)

FREEPORT  — It is not often that across the board all area teams have that belief that they can go far. 

From Freeport to Wiscasset, Lisbon to Brunswick, and the teams in-between, there is excitement afoot as the girls high school soccer regular season prepares to kick off. 

Here is a look at the teams:

Freeport

Second-year coach David Intraversato likes what he has seen so far, with his Falcons playing and practicing as a confident group, with speed to spare and a perfect 7-0 mark in the preseason. 

Intraversato returns a bevy of veterans, with 17 players set to come back this season, a Western Maine Conference campaign that is set to begin on Thursday at Gray-New Gloucester (6 p.m.). 

“I believe we have a team that can fight for those top four spots in Class B South, along with Yarmouth, York and Cape Elizabeth,” said Intraversato. “We looked solid over the summer. We are working on receiving scoring from multiple players, and so far, so good.”

Senior captain and All-WMC selection Catroina Gould returns after a season to remember, when the striker netted 31 goals and pretty much tallied most of the big goals for Freeport during an 8-4-2 regular season, a campaign that ended with a tough 3-2 quarterfinal loss to rival Yarmouth. 

“I would be happy if Catroina scored half as many goals and dished out 20 assists,” Intraversato said. “We have the talent from others who can step up and score. We want to build off that philosophy, along with taking it one game at a time.”

Joining Gould are classmates Tara Migliaccio (Capt.), Abby Brier (Capt., defense), Sarah Gray (defense), Annika Thomas (defense), Paige Rinaldi (defense), Hannah Spaulding (wing) and Tia Peterson (wing). Junior Rachel Wall (midfield, nine goals last year), Carly Intraversato (midfield) and Leah Rusiecki (goaltender) help form a solid core of upperclassmen. 

Brunswick

Longtime Dragons leader Martyn Davison has a tall task in front of him, having to replace a solid defensive core/midfield along with leading striker Anna Kousky.

“Having graduated almost the entire team from last fall, we expect a new team to form with still an emphasis on attacking play,” said Davison, whose Dragons visit Oxford Hills on Thursday (6 p.m.) after finishing 11-1-2 and advancing to the Class A North semifinals last year. “I expect the team to improve with every game.”

Davison brings back senior captain Isabella Banks, who tallied 11 goals and dished out six assists from her midfield spot while earning All-Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference honors last year. Senior captains Alexis Guptill (defense, six goals), Lila Solberg (midfield) provides solid leadership. 

Also back in the fold is senior Mackenzie Dorr (striker, returning after two seasons away), along with juniors Emma Banks (Capt., midfield, three goals, two assists last year), Riley Turgeon (defense) and Alex Bunker (defense). Sophomores Riley McAllaster (defense), Mia Klimash (midfield), Molly Taub (midfield), Logan Brown (midfield), Ophelia Ladner (goaltender) and Aisley Snell (goaltender) are sure to see increased playing time. Newcomers include sophomores Grace Costello (midfield), Emily Davison (midfield) and Morgan Foster (defense), as well as freshmen Kynli Van Leer (midfield), Betty Bakkila (striker), Lanye Brewer (striker/defense) and Hannah Lay (defense). 

“I have seen a great attitude and willingness to work hard,” said Davison of his Dragons. “The squad has a good balance about it. We will need to work on keeping the ball for longer spells in a game and work on that final pass in the attacking third to have success.”   

Morse

Year two begins for Shipbuilders coach Branden Noltkamper after his squad went 6-6-2 last season and made a Class B South preliminary appearance (a 1-0 loss to Lake Region). 

He returns nearly his entire squad, led by captains Emily Martin (senior midfielder, eight goals, seven assists last year), Paige Faulkingham (senior defenseman) and Meghan Clifford (junior defenseman). 

“We are older and more experienced coming into this year, and we have a full group of players with maturity and a strong

Mt. Ararat’s Eliza Libby (5) is about to make a move on Morse’s Wren Tetreault (12) in a KVAC girls soccer game last year. The Eagles host Brunswick in their 2019 opener on Tuesday, while the Shipbuilders head to Winslow on Friday. (Bob Conn / The Times Record)

work ethic,” said Noltkamper, whose ’Builders open Friday at Winslow (3:30 p.m.). “They certainly seem focused, hungrier, and we have gotten past the learning curve that we had last year. We had a taste of the playoffs last year and they want more.”

Seniors Abby Sreden (goaltender), Eliza McKenney (midfield), Helena Eich (defense), Samantha Ramsey (defense), Dory Kulis (forward) and Nicole Brazee (midfield) are back, joined by juniors Julia Goddard (midfield) and Mary Larochelle (midfield). Sophomore Wren Tetreault (midfield) also returns. 

Noltkamper feels a few new teams to the schedule will challenge Morse this season. 

“We have added Winslow, Mount View, teams that we know little about in terms of their styles,” said Noltkamper. “We are focusing on ourselves and not getting wrapped up in what other teams will do. If we control what we can do, I like our chances.”

Wiscasset

Last year was a tough campaign for Duane Goud’s Wolverines, who finished 1-13. 

Despite the one win, Wiscasset had its chances, challenging talented teams like Oak Hill, Monmouth, Hall-Dale and Madison in close contests, where with a goal here or a save there might have changed Goud’s squad’s outcomes. 

So far, the preseason has gone well for Wiscasset.

“It has been really encouraging,” said Goud, whose team faced a talented Richmond team recently. “Facing Richmond was a good learning experience. We were able to adapt and move kids around.”

The key according to Goud will be to avoid the pitfalls of a long season, when things don’t go as planned. 

“They are a good group of girls with no drama, and most of the players are good friends away from the field,” said Goud, whose Wolverines host Hall-Dale on Thursday (6 p.m.). “Everyone will have to do their part for us to have success. I feel that we can build on last year because many of the games we lost, we were right there.”

Mt. Ararat

It was an up and down 2018 season for Chad Kirk’s Eagles, who finished 8-5-1 and fell to Bangor (5-1) in the Class A North quarterfinals. 

In the preseason, things have gone well for Mt. Ararat, which downed Hampden Academy and Gray-New Gloucester in a recent play day along with falling to Freeport in a close contest. 

“The leadership and chemistry are very good so far,” said Kirk, whose Eagles open at home Tuesday against “Battle of the Bridge” rival Brunswick (4:30 p.m.). “Midfield is our strength, with all of our players returning. We lost just two players to graduation, and I feel that we can compete with anyone in the North.”

Seniors Kyla Greenleaf (midfield), Brennan Thiboutot (defense), Reese Turcotte (midfield), Bree McCourt (striker), Heather Gallant (defense) and Teresa Breed (goaltender) provide that upperclassmen leadership, along with juniors Eliza Libby (midfield), Alexa Gurney (striker), Emma Hawkes (striker), Margaret Dwinal (striker), Cora Spelke (defense) and Erin Harty (midfield). 

Kirk’s sophomore class is solid, led by goaltender Elsa Daulerio, utility player Emma Hanna, and defenders Olivia Cox and Barrett Thiboutot, while freshmen newcomers Hannah Hawkes (striker) and Ariana Greybill (midfield) gives the Eagles some depth. 

“This year, these players a little bit older, with a solid set of midfielders and forwards working hard to get better,” said Kirk. “We are lot more versatility, which will allow us to have a better rotation.”

Richmond

Last year ended a bit earlier than normal for Troy Kendrick’s Bobcats, who were eliminated in the Class D South regional final by North Yarmouth Academy. The setback put an end to eight straight regional titles for Richmond. 

This year, Kendrick has a solid mix of veteran players back in the fold, with balanced classes allowing him to lean on his seniors while bringing along his sophomores and freshmen. 

“We played all summer and have had a solid preseason, and I have seen a good group of players working hard,” said Kendrick, whose Bobcats host Rangeley on Saturday. “Last year, NYA was a heck of a club. This year, I am optimistic that we have the talent to get back to the state championship, as long as we stay consistent and improve each day.”

Seniors Lindsie Irish (defense), Rylie Irish (midfield), Bry Lancaster (defense) and Abby Johnson (striker) are the leaders, along with juniors Paige Lebel (midfield), Leah Wescott (midfield), MaryBeth Sloat (defense), Bry Shea (striker) and Bre Vintinner (midfield). 

The sophomore class includes Liz Johnson (goaltender), Abby Harrington (midfield, missed her freshman year with an injury), Alyssa Letendre (defense), Mary Carver (defense), Nicole Tribbet (striker) and Laura Brown (forward), with freshmen newcomers Sophie Wells (midfield) and Kaira Briand (defense) looking to crack the lineup. 

The schedule is challenging for Richmond, with two matchups with NYA, visits to Hebron Academy and St. Dom’s, and three matchups with Temple Academy on the docket. 

“The schedule will certainly keep us busy, and those matchups against Western Maine Conference schools (NYA, St. Dom’s) will be competitive, which I like,” said Kendrick. “I like playing teams that are talented because it sharpens you. I want to play that level of competition.”

Lisbon

Another second-year coach is Jenniffer Perron, who led her Greyhounds to a solid 10-3-1 campaign last year. 

She has to replace four talented players in a season that opens Thursday at Telstar (4 p.m.). 

“We are looking forward to building off our success,” said Perron. “As always, we are looking to improve, and even with key losses on offense, I believe we have the returning experience to do so.”

Senior striker Kylie Merritt is back after a 25-goal, six-assist 2018 season, and will be supported by senior center/midfielder Giana Russo (16 goals, five assists). Juniors Sarah Haggerty (goaltender), Siara Martin (defense) and Erica Hill (defense) are veterans of the Mountain Valley Conference. 

A key newcomer is freshman striker Kyra Tancrede. 

“I am looking to Russo and Merritt to continue their strong offensive attack,” Perron said. “Defensively, Haggerty returns for her second season in net, and Martin and Hill together will keep our defense strong. With the bulk of our team returning, I am excited to see what we will do this season.”

Pine Tree Academy

The Breakers from Freeport finished 6-5 last season, good for the No. 9 spot in Class D South.

Pine Tree fell to Hyde, 4-1, in a prelim, and opens the 2019 season at home on Friday against Vinalhaven/North Haven at 12:30 p.m. 

The schedule is tough for Dean Waterman’s squad, which faces several teams from the East-West Conference (Valley, Rangeley, Temple) twice each, including a pair of games at the Topsham Dome (Sept. 28 against Temple; Oct. 10 vs. Valley).

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