Lions to use mental approach, togetherness to improve, compete
Belfast — The following is a synopsis of the 2013 Belfast Area High School girls soccer team:
Coach/years coached current team: Chris Lavalle, seventh year.
Last year's record/playoff information: 2-11-1, 15th in Eastern Class B. The Lions did not qualify for the playoffs.
Roster: Seniors Grace Davis and Ashley Littlefield; juniors Autumn Jackson, Meghan Larrabee, Danielle Wilson and Brogan Leppanen; sophomores Breann Cummings, Ashley Flanders, Kasey McLeod, Alexis Racioppi, Mariah Sturgis, Kennadee Baker, Cassidy Hill, Alexandra Sukeforth and Lydia Violette; and freshmen Mikayla Artkop, Faith Beaulieu, Eliza Clark, Julia Colcord and Rayanna Luther.
Known graduation losses: Natalie Calligan, Rachel Kahn, Brianna Flagg and Killyan Richards.
Significant impact players: Littlefield, Davis and Jackson.
Team strengths: Mental approach and togetherness.
Team goals: To work hard, have fun, earn an Eastern Class B playoff spot and “be a better player at the end of each game.”
Top league opponents: Camden Hills, Oceanside of Rockland/Thomaston, Medomak Valley of Waldoboro, Lincoln Academy of Newcastle, Erskine Academy of South China and Waterville.
Outlook: The Lions are looking to improve on last year's regular season and, said coach Lavalle, despite their youth, may have the personnel to do that.
“The preseason has been great,” said Lavalle. “We have begun developing a new, tougher mentality. This started in the summer when a core of the girls competed in and won the Waldo County YMCA [soccer] league. The girls worked really hard in the offseason and that has made our preseason training sessions better and far more productive and this has shown in our development as individual players, and, more importantly, as a team.”
The Lions, of course, will face plenty of stiff competition, facing both Oceanside and Camden Hills twice, in addition to Erskine Academy and Waterville, to name a few.
Seven of the 11 players on the team are underclassmen, including a “packed” sophomore class of Sturgis, Violette, Cummings, Racioppi, Flanders, McLeod and Hill. Lavalle said the aforementioned players “will be involved in the first team,” while Beaulieu, Clark, Artkop, Colcord and Luther “have added a lot to the group in terms of depth and versatility” as freshmen.