The Searsport District High School girls soccer team undoubtedly will have a different look on the soccer pitch this fall with a new coach, new cast and a new set of expectations.

Led by first-year coach Seth Brown, the Vikings will be in the midst of a major youth movement and will hope to keep pace in the Penobscot Valley Conference Class C division.

The Vikings include seniors Jessica Brideau (defense), Sam Hutchins (goalie), Shannon Higgins (midfield) and Nikki Ravert (defense); junior Cassie Martin (midfield); and sophomore Gwen Higgins (midfield). Coach Brown said he also has 10 freshmen who are “all working hard to improve and prepare for high school soccer.” The names of those freshmen will be added to this story when they become available.

Last year, Searsport finished 8-6 and claimed the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Class C playoffs. The Vikings won their preliminary round matchup 5-3 over No. 9 Madawaska, but fell 5-1 to top-seeded Orono in the quarterfinals.

The Red Riots went on to win the regional title, only to fall to Western Class C titlist Georges Valley in the state final.

Among those lost to graduation from last season’s Viking squad were top goal scorers Sara Bradshaw, Olivia Quigley and Kali Berenyi, who scored a combined 60 goals last season for the Vikings. Bradshaw tallied 35 of those goals and was one of the top goal scorers in the state, regardless of class.

Coach Brown certainly will have his work cut out for him not only filling the offensive shoes of those departed players, but with his large number of freshmen and first-year players. However, the former Husson University soccer coach looks to be up to the task.

“We have 10 freshmen on the team and there are 17 girls,” he said. “So we’re a young team, we’re learning the game together. It’s a new coach, new system and new ideas so we’ve been working a lot on technique and trying to sort that out.”

Brown has only been with the team for a few weeks and is just starting to settle in with the Vikings.

“I’m learning their names,” he said. “We’re getting through that and I think we’ve mastered that.”

With many players new to the game and new to the fast-paced nature of the varsity level, Brown hopes he can help them get their feet wet with scrimmages and preseason contests to help them get acclimated.

He added that the Vikings used the recent Georges Valley preseason tournament as the first step to get the student-athletes up to speed.

“It’s all about technique,” said Brown. “We have to become more comfortable with the ball on our foot and have a better understanding on how we can manipulate the ball. I think that it’s all confidence, success and repetition. We’ll get there.”

Brown said each member of the team brings something unique to the squad, and the players’ willingness to try new things and not get discouraged should go a long way in helping them with their development.

“Our moto right now is if you’re good at something you need to be doing that as often as possible,” said Brown. “Don’t worry about making mistakes and don’t worry about the score, just worry about playing consistently in the system as a group. We’re going to measure success differently and we’re setting small milestones. It’s going to take some time.”

As for as his expectations for the season when the regular campaign kicks off on Tuesday, Sept. 7 at 4 p.m. in Bucksport?

“My expectation is that we’ll be competitive in every game we go into,” he said. “That we can get a result whether it’s a tie or a win. As far as do we want to go .500 or do we want to go undefeated? … We haven’t even talked about that yet. Our concern right now is passing the ball from point A to point B, understanding our system and learning to defend. If we can get a little bit better each game, that will be successful to me.”

Village NetMedia Associate Sports Director Mark Haskell can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail at mhaskell@villagesoup.com.