Members of the Mount Desert Island High School junior varsity girls’ soccer team include (sitting, from left) Zoe Eason, Lorraine Soper, Avery Bryer and Natalie Rechholtz; (kneeling, from left) Jaiden Scott, Liviah Carignan and Olivia Chandler; (standing, from left) head coach Amanda Munro, Ayli Munro, Addy Smith, Kaleena Higgins, Alia Wheeler, Georgianna Logan, Emma Freudig, Isabella Murphy and Haley Leonardi. HOTO COURTESY OF AMANDA MUNRO

JV girls’ soccer produces strong year in return season



BAR HARBOR — Amanda Munro last coached at Mount Desert Island High School 15 years ago. A last-minute decision as the school was set to begin fall sports practices this year brought her back into the fold.

When tryouts for the varsity girls soccer team took place Aug. 16, Munro’s daughter, Ayli, was there trying to earn a roster spot. Also present were nearly 40 other girls of all ages and development levels competing for places on a team that would only be putting 11 of them on the field at a given time.

“I just thought to myself, ‘How are all these girls going to get the experience they need to get better if the team is so big?’” Munro said. “I was really concerned about that because we didn’t have a JV team.”

Rather than simply worrying, Munro, who had coached at the junior varsity level at MDI years ago, approached Athletic Director Bunky Dow about bringing back the JV team. The school had not fielded a JV girls squad since 2014.

“He said, ‘Yeah, we have enough girls for it, but we don’t have a coach,’” Munro said. “I had coached JV before, and when I brought the idea up, my daughter really wanted me to do it again because the team needed one.”

Munro had coached the JV girls’ team at MDI in 2002 and 2003. With Dow agreeing to bring back the team once a coach was established and Ayli, a freshman, now at the high school, Munro decided it was time to make her coaching comeback.

The new coach had to put together a team and a schedule quickly. With 15 committed players, the group proved it was more than up to the challenge. Despite forming a team barely two weeks before the regular season was set to begin, the Trojans marked their return to JV play with a 7-1-4 record.

“I had a lot of talent to work with,” Munro said. “A lot of people think of JV teams as just leftovers or the players who aren’t ready, but that wasn’t the case at all with these girls. … It’s not easy to have a team come together that fast and get up to speed and start winning games, but that’s what they did.”

May Dow, the varsity coach, was pleased with the return of the JV team as well. With 33 girls suiting up, being able to split into two teams was an efficient way for players of all ages and development levels to get the playing time they needed.

“I think it’s beneficial for both the girls and the program to be able to field two teams and get some experience on the field,” Dow said. “I’m fortunate that Amanda wanted to step right in and start coaching again, and I think she did a great job with the girls this year. She definitely has the energy and is knowledgeable of the game.”

One of the team’s best moments of the year, Munro said, came on a trip to Aroostook County for a road contest against Caribou. After trailing 1-0 at halftime, Liviah Carignan scored twice for the Trojans after the break — including the game-winning goal with just 23 seconds left —to cap off the long trip north with a 2-1 victory.

“We were sluggish and looked really sloppy in the first half in that game, and Caribou was playing like they already had the game won,” Munro said. “When I got the girls to use that as motivation, they came out in the second half and turned the game around completely.”

Munro’s husband Adrian served as an assistant coach for the team.

Team members were Carignan, Ayli Munro, Zoe Eason, Lorraine Soper, Avary Bryer, Natalie Reccholtz, Jaiden Scott, Olivia Chandler, Addy Smith, Kaleena Higgins, Alia Wheeler, Georgianna Logan, Emma Freudig, Isabella Murphy and Haley Leonardi.

Mike Mandell

Mike Mandell

Mike Mandell is the sports editor at The Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander. He began working for The American in August 2016. You can reach him via email at [email protected]

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