The Searsport girls soccer team didn’t exactly start its season out on the right foot, with a 10-4 loss to George Stevens Academy of Blue Hill.
Since then, however, the Vikings have been sailing through the Eastern Maine Class C ranks, posting a 9-1-1 record (10-2-1 overall) with the one setback being to Orono last week.
One of those victories was an emotional overtime victory over GSA, also last week, which could catapult Searsport in today’s new Heal Point standings.
“That was one of those games that you dream about during the season,” coach Mike Garcelon said Monday before the Vikings took on Piscataquis of Guilford at home.
“We played about as well as we could that day.”
Senior Tianna Faunce, who has spearheaded Searsport’s offensive attack with a team-high 21 goals, concurred.
“That was incredible,” she said. “[GSA] beat us really severely last game … a tie would’ve been great but a win was amazing.”
Along with center midfielder Faunce and forward Olivia Quigley, left forward Sarah Bradshaw (14 goals, 20 assists) and left forward Kali Berenyi (15 goals) have played solidly up front.
“We have some of the highest scorers around, at least in Class C,” Garcelon said.
Berenyi has also seen time at sweeper and Bradshaw at half-back.
Garcelon expects starting goalkeeper Megan Higgins, who fractured her arm in a game against Orono earlier this season, to return for the playoffs.
In her absence, sisters Sarah Bradshaw and Paige Bradshaw, and Katherine Cotter, have all seen time in goal, and have filled the void.
“They’ve done a great job,” Garcelon said.
After falling in the quarter-finals last fall, the Vikings would like to go beyond that plateau this time around.
“That was their goal, to go deeper in the playoffs,” Garcelon said.
Searsport understands that the road to the Eastern Maine final will have to go through the St. John Valley and top teams Fort Kent and Madawaska.
Even though that’s a long road, Faunce doesn’t mind it.
“Personally, for me, I like the longer distance games. I just like the bus ride, it makes me focus,” she said.
Garcelon added, “We’re just getting used to that. At some point somebody’s got to make a trip up there.”
As the season has gone along, the Vikings have improved with every game, which is a pretty good omen with the playoffs approaching in one of the deeper classes in Eastern Maine.
“We’ve really come into ourselves. I think our confidence is actually growing as well,” Faunce said. “The first game was GSA but then we kept rocking the scores, and no one could really shut us down.”
Broncos make senior gesture
Normally, a Senior Night celebration before a soccer game consists of a team’s senior players thanking their families for support.
At Hampden Academy, however, things are a bit different.
Prior to last Thursday’s game against rival Bangor, the Broncos not only recognized seniors Abby Neill, Katie Chambers, Emily Tarbell, Morgan Montgomery-Rice and Kim Furrough, but honored the Rams’ senior class as well.
“It’s sort of a tradition for us, its kind of a respect that we give to them,” said Chambers. “It’s kind of their senior game, too, with us.”
Bangor’s eight-player senior class of Kailey McKenna, Erin Dean, Sarah MacDonald, Chelsea Pratt, Kendra Lenz, Hilary Sivik, Jenny Leach, Nicole Stairs and Kortnie Hudgens were each presented with a rose by their Hampden counterparts.
Baker has inspirational story
Former John Bapst of Bangor cross country coach Mike Miragliuolo’s Green Hope High (Cary, N.C.) team was the subject of a recent USA Today article.
Miragliuolo, who coaches 205 runners at the school, always fields one of the more competitive teams in the state, but the greater story here is that one of his athletes, Nathan Baker, has cerebral palsy.
Baker, a junior, has improved vastly over the last three years, has brought his 5K time down to 23 minutes, 18 seconds, 10 minutes faster than when he started.
“I have no idea why everyone’s getting so excited,” said a humble Miragliuolo, who grew up in Bangor and graduated from John Bapst in 1992, where he coached and taught for six years and played baseball, basketball and ran cross country all four years of high school.
Baker has to wear gloves while racing because he falls frequently, Miragliuolo said, and he’s also hearing impaired so he uses his eyesight to fend off other runners in the races.
In addition to that, a sign language interpreter goes to practices and meets to translate for Baker when Miragliuolo addresses the squad.
The other runners on the team have accepted him greatly.
“Oh yeah, they get along great. It’s pretty inspirational to see that,” Miragliuolo said.
It also doesn’t hurt that Baker is a cross country fanatic who frequents Internet sites such as DyeStat.
“He goes online and checks out sites all the time,” Miragliuolo said.