Top two girls’ soccer teams in Class D to battle Tuesday
MARS HILL, Maine — When the Ashland Hornets pay a visit Tuesday afternoon, Central Aroostook will be squaring off with a much different soccer team than the one it faced way back on Aug. 23.
The Panther girls defeated the Hornets in that one by a score of 5-1 and it marked the first time a Joe Levesque-coached team had ever beaten Ashland, spanning seven seasons.
Central Aroostook scored twice in the first six minutes and dominated throughout.
While the Panthers have won all 10 of their other matches and are the first-place team in the Class D North standings, the Hornets (10-2) have won seven in a row and nine of their last 10 and are No. 2 in the rankings, with still an opportunity to catch CA for the top spot.
It sets up a major showdown at 5 p.m. at the Central Aroostook Junior-Senior High School soccer field.
Ashland, the defending regional champions coached by Peter Belskis, has built its resume over the past three weeks by twice beating Class C power Fort Kent and earning a dominant victory over Southern Aroostook.
“Ashland has changed some things in their game and they are playing very well right now,” Levesque said. “They like to get off to a fast start to get a lead and then pull all their resources to defend, so we will need to win the ball in the air and the 50-50 battles.”
Levesque admits he is a little worried about his team having what he calls a “harvest hangover,” as Central Aroostook has been off from school the past three weeks and many players have been steadily working in the potato fields, but he said if the Panthers can overcome that, “it should be a good game.”
Both Central Aroostook and Ashland feature first-year goalkeepers, with CA going with freshman Olivia Blackstone and the Hornets relying on Reagan Libby, an eighth-grader who took over the position midway through the season.
Junior Kate Levesque scored two goals in the first meeting between the two teams and leads Central Aroostook on offense, while Shelby Stolze, also a junior, is the featured goal scorer for Ashland. Each team boasts freshmen who have provided secondary scoring in Central Aroostook’s Liberty Fulton and Ashland’s Gabby Ayotte.
Junior midfielder Breann Bradbury and sophomore sweeper Libby Grass are among the other key performers for CA, while seniors Olivia Tardie and Kassandra Nelson and sophomore Willow Hall are important field players for the Hornets.