BAR HARBOR — Don’t tell the Mount Desert Island boys’ soccer team that there’s no playoffs this season.
Since the abbreviated 2020 campaign began, MDI has treated each game of this unusual season as if it’s a postseason contest. Each week, essentially, is treated as an elimination game even as the Trojans take part in a season that technically has none.
“That’s been our mentality,” MDI assistant coach Max Mason said. “For us, this has been one been elongated playoff. Even though we don’t have that playoff atmosphere officially, the mindset is that we come and treat it that way.”
Thus far, the approach has paid dividends for the Trojans — and after the team’s latest showing, the team sits just two wins from an undefeated season.
MDI claimed a 5-0 win over Hampden Academy in Tuesday night’s contest in Bar Harbor. The win saw the Trojans get scorers from five different players and keep a clean sheet for the third time in the past five games.
MDI got off to a blistering start as goals from Ieuan Howell and Julian Walls put the home team up 2-0 inside the first six minutes. Henry Lester then made it 3-0 for the Trojans (6-0) with 27 minutes, 30 seconds remaining in the first half with a run past two Hampden defenders and a winding shot to right of the goalkeeper.
The Trojans stretched the lead to 4-0 five minutes into the second half as Walker St. Germain scored his second goal of the season. Weston Granholm rounded out the scoring for the home team seven minutes later with a stunning goal from long range.
The five-goal effort marked the third straight game in which MDI has scored four goals or more. With each goal coming from a different source, the Trojans, who have had 10 different players score this year, once again displayed the balanced attack that has made the team’s offense so successful.
“We have players who are willing and able to step in when asked, and we love gifting shots to each other; it’s one of our mentalities in practice,” Mason said. “Every pass is a gift, and every shot is a gift, so when one of our teammates can have that possession and that shot, it’s just a beautiful thing.”
Equally impressive has been MDI’s defensive record this season. The Trojans have given up just three goals this season, an accomplishment Mason said has been the foundation for the team’s overall success.
“It’s an absolute treat as a coach to have full confidence in every player out there, and that starts with our defense and works all the way up to the top,” Mason said. “We can put anyone in those positions and know that we’re in great hands.”
MDI will play its final home game when it hosts George Stevens Academy (3-2-1) at 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29. The Trojans will then close out the season when they play on the road against Ellsworth (4-2-3) at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 3.
In keeping with MDI’s playoff mentality, Mason said Thursday’s game against GSA will be treated as the Northern Maine championship game. Then, a matchup with rival Ellsworth on Tuesday will be a fitting “state final” for a group that will be together again in 2021.
“With no seniors at the moment, the reality is that these guys will have an opportunity to be together another year,” Mason said. “Getting wins in these next two would be really big for them as they prepare for the real playoffs next season.”