Four games of local interest are on the varsity soccer playoff schedule Friday afternoon, all involving Class D North schools.
The winners move on to the quarterfinal round, with those matches to be played Tuesday, Oct. 24.
The following is a preview of Friday’s contests.
No. 9 Washburn girls (7-5-2) at No. 8 Wisdom (7-7), 1:30 p.m. Friday — The Beavers and Pioneers meet for the third time this season, but the first time since August. Both teams won on their opponent’s home field and both were by 4-1 margins.
“The teams are evenly matched,” said Washburn coach Marcie Barbarula. “Both have quickness up front and a solid defense.”
Barbarula said her team will need to mark Wisdom’s top offensive players and be aggressive and beat the Pioneers to the ball in order to have a chance to advance to play No. 1 Penobscot Valley next week.
“The girls have improved a great deal since the last time we faced Wisdom,” Barbarula said. “They are communicating with each other a lot more and are jelling as team.”
Junior Kassie Farley leads the Beavers with 16 goals and freshman Madison Miller has totaled 13.
No. 11 MSSM girls (4-4) at No. 6 Bangor Christian (8-5-1), 3 p.m. Friday — MSSM makes its playoff debut as an independent varsity soccer team and coach Mike Dugal said the team is excited to take on the Patriots.
The Penguins played only eight games, which is the minimum required for Maine Principals’ Association teams, but won several key ones that allowed them to extend their season.
“How we got to the playoffs is indicative of the players’ work ethic,” Dugal said. “They work hard and never give up.”
Dugal said the Penguins are “a diverse team made up of those who have played soccer all their lives [and some] who have never played the game, with others who have never played on a high school athletic team.”
“They get along and support each other and don’t cut corners,” Dugal said. “I will never discount them from any match.”
Forward Madelyn Battcock-Emerson is the leading goal scorer and midfielder Samantha Zwecker and fullback Victoria Eichorn are the captains.
No. 10 Katahdin girls (5-8-1) at No. 7 Hodgdon (7-6-1), 3:30 p.m. Friday — The Cougars head north to take on Hodgdon for the third time this season. The two teams battled to a 2-2 tie Sept. 11 at Hodgdon, while Katahdin notched a 3-0 victory Sept. 27 in Stacyville.
“The girls are very excited to make it to the postseason,” first year Hodgdon coach Amanda Stubbs said. “We set a goal at the beginning of the season to host a home playoff game and we are doing that, so we are very happy about that.”
Stubbs said she felt the Hawks have improved tremendously since their 3-0 loss to Katahdin and is hopeful for a more positive outcome today.
“We feel like we have improved both offensively and defensively since playing them and don’t plan on changing our approach too much,” she said. “We like what we do and feel like it can work against any opponent when we execute it correctly. We have a couple of different defensive sets that we may try if the opportunity presents itself but for the most part we just plan on going out there and playing our game.”
In order to be successful, the coach said Hodgdon must attempt to control the tempo of Friday’s prelim, using strong passing skills to move the ball up the field. Following through on shots is another key thing the team needs to do.
Attempts to reach Katahdin coach Shaun McAvoy were not successful.
No. 12 Shead (6-7-1) at No. 5 Central Aroostook (9-5), 4 p.m. Friday — The Panthers host the Eastport-based Tigers, with the winner taking on either Madawaska or Schenck in the quarters.
Central Aroostook has the ingredients to make a solid playoff run. The Panthers have a top-flight goalkeeper in Caitlyn Harris, a senior, and a potent scoring threat in sophomore Kate Levesque.
“Cait has taken a huge step forward this year,” said CA coach Joe Levesque. “She could be key in how deep of a run we make this year.”
Senior Keara McCrum and sophomore Brea Bradbury are other key players who handle the center of the field. Kassie Levesque, another senior, is the second-leading scorer behind her young sister.
The Panthers own a win over No. 3 Southern Aroostook and gave No. 2 Ashland a tough battle in their second meeting of the season Oct. 10 on the Hornets’ home field, falling by a 1-0 decision.
“We need to keep improving on defense and in transition, and if we can do both, we can be a factor in the post-season,” Levesque said.