Mount Desert Island’s Sophia Anderson boots the ball forward during a high school girls’ soccer playoff game against Belfast on Oct. 22 at Belfast Area High School. The MDI girls (3-0 vs. Belfast) and boys (3-0 vs. Waterville) both claimed wins on the road Friday in their respective Class B North prelim games. PHOTO COURTESY OF KERI HAYES

MDI boys, girls claim 3-0 wins in Class B North prelims

WATERVILLE — A banner weekend for Mount Desert Island sports began with both soccer teams winning away from home.

The MDI boys’ and girls’ soccer teams started their postseason campaigns with victories in Friday’s Class B North prelim games. The boys claimed their second win of the year with a 3-0 win at Waterville, and the girls earned their fifth with a victory by the same score at Belfast.

The ninth-ranked MDI boys’ team kicked off the weekend with a contest against No. 8 Waterville at Waterville Senior High School. The Trojans got goals from Ieuan Howell, Cole Watson and Corin Baker in a 10-minute span in the first half and held the Panthers (4-10-1) scoreless to snap an eight-game winless streak.

The season has been tougher than expected for MDI, which has had to deal with the unexpected departures of three players who had been set to return from last year’s 7-0 team. The Trojans were also missing standout goalkeeper Quentin Pileggi to an injury in their first few games and have had key players quarantined at various times throughout the year.

“It seems like almost every game we have one of our pieces moved, and this team, we just have to react,” MDI head coach Tyler Frank said. “What we did in the game Friday was a testament to this team picking up those pieces and taking on each game as it comes.”

MDI’s Hannah Ford chases down the ball during a high school girls’ soccer playoff game against Belfast on Oct. 22 at Belfast Area High School. The 10th-ranked MDI girls (5-10) were scheduled to face second-ranked Old Town (11-3-1) in Wednesday’s quarterfinals.

Although MDI went nearly a month without a win following a 3-0 victory Sept. 25 against Hermon, the Trojans were more competitive as the regular season drew to a close. The Trojans gave No. 1 Presque Isle their only blemish on an otherwise perfect regular season with a 4-4 draw, claimed another draw with a 2-2 result against George Stevens Academy and led No. 3 Ellsworth for much of the game in the regular season finale.

“As this team gets more change-ready, they’re finally ready to get past the tie or loss column and into the win column,” Frank said. “We’re definitely peaking later in the season, and we’re getting into survival mode because we have to do that in order to play into November.”

Shortly after the MDI boys’ team closed out its win in Waterville, the 10th-ranked girls’ team kicked off their game at Belfast Area High School. The Trojans (5-10) would go on to get two first-half goals from Avary Bryer – the first and second of her high school career – and a second-half tally  from fellow senior Lelia Weir to knock off the No. 7 Lions (5-9).

The game, in which MDI started off slowly before recovering midway through the opening half, was perhaps a microcosm of the Trojans’ 2021 season. Although head coach May Chan’s team found matters tough early on as it started 1-6, the Trojans have gained their footing as the year has unfolded.

“I told [our players], ‘Don’t be proud of where we’ve gotten; be proud of how far we’ve come along,’” Chan said. “I felt really good about our chances just because of how hard they’ve worked and how much they’ve improved. It took them a little bit to settle in, but once they did and found their movements, they played a great game.”

When the girls’ team arrived back at the high school at around halftime of MDI’s football game against Ellsworth/Sumner, members of the boys’ team were present to greet them with an honor guard. It was just one of many displays of school unity in a weekend that saw MDI post wins in soccer, football, volleyball and cross-country in a span of just 24 hours.

“It was an awesome weekend for MDI fall athletics,” Dow said. “Having every team do so well and be able to continue on has been special. The student support that each team gives each other has been great to see.”

The MDI boys’ team’s season came to an end with a Class B North quarterfinal 1-0 loss to No. 1 Presque Isle (12-0-1) in Aroostook County. The Trojans previously dealt the Wildcats their only blemish of the season when the two teams played to a 4-4 draw Oct. 4 in Bar Harbor.

The MDI girls were set to take on No. 2 Old Town (11-3-1) on Wednesday on the Hampden Academy turf. With a win, the Trojans would advance to play on the road against either No. 3 Ellsworth or No. 6 John Bapst in the Class B North semifinals.

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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