State champs to be challenged

9 years ago

 WASHBURN, Maine — After capturing the school’s first soccer state championship a year ago, the Washburn Beavers have a significantly new look this fall.
The roster has been overhauled due to graduation, injuries and transfers. Only four starters return for coach Marcie Barbarula — seniors Mackenzie Worcester, Mikayla Churchill, Joan Overman and Tyra Shaw.
The team will especially miss four of the graduates — Carmen Bragg, Carsyn Koch, Nicole Olson and Kennedy Churchill. Bragg controlled the middle of the field and had a team-high 18 assists last year. Koch was the second-leading scorer with 28 goals, while Olson and Churchill each thrived on the defensive end, marking the opposing team’s top scorers.
Another huge blow was an injury suffered by senior Catelyn Coulombe, who would have returned as the starting sweeper back and was an anchor to the defense.
Through the team’s first four games, however, Washburn has looked dominant. The Beavers outscored their opponents by a 26-5 margin heading into Tuesday’s game at Central Aroostook.
Leading the offensive charge has been Worcester, who had a whopping 50 goals last year and is on pace to break that mark after tallying 14 goals so far.
Overman is also off to a strong start. She has scored at least one goal in all four games and has seven on the season. She also has picked up a handful of assists.
The two are the starting strikers for Barbarula’s squad, but the Churchills (Mikayla and Emmy) will also be counted on to handle some of the scoring load.
After boasting a 21-player roster during its state title season, Washburn is down to 15 available players this fall.
The goalie is new as junior Grace Braley has joined the squad and jumped into the position. She has goalie experience, but none since middle school while attending Presque Isle.
Shaw will provide the last line of defense in front of Braley at the sweeper position in place of Coulombe. Junior Jessica Aube gets the nod at defensive stopper and Mikayla Churchill is the offensive stopper. The wing fullback starters are sophomore Mariah Davis and freshman Katie Easler.
The midfielders are Emmy Churchill in the center, flanked by sophomore Kristen Sarmiento and junior Brooklyn Plummer on the wings. All are returning players who possesses outstanding speed.
The four substitutes, who will all see time, are junior Brittany Corey, freshman Macey Barker and sophomores Mackenzie Vaughn and Kaylee Doak. Corey will be a defender, while Barker and Vaughn will fill in at midfield and Doak will play both up front and on the back line.
Scott Olson is back as the assistant coach and Megan Farley is the manager.
The Beavers’ two toughest tests will be played in September, 10 days apart. Washburn travels to Ashland on Sept. 8 and then the locale moves to Washburn for the Sept. 18 match. The Hornets handed the Beavers their only loss last year.
Barbarula likes the way her redesigned team has responded so far and is hopeful things will continue along a similar path.
“We have to keep working together and communicating with each other,” she said, “and being a young team, some players need to continue to step up and take on important roles.”