High school boys soccer

Eagles return to island nest after fun flight to playoffs

By Staff | Nov 07, 2017

Islesboro — The Islesboro soccer team’s season had ups and downs, and ebbs and flows, as all athletic campaigns endure. But the Eagles, coming from a school that has only 31 students, exceeded expectations.

Led by coach Rob McHugh, the Eagles, a coed squad sporting nine boys and six girls, earned a 3-5-3 regular-season record.

Team members included Sanni Cohn, Yeatts Mitiku, Rylee Sienkiewicz, Keisha Scott, Patrick Kehoe, Pia Gibson, Finn Gibson, Finnian O’Malia, Samuel Jagger, Alexander Howell, Charlie Jagger, Jasper Louden, Lake Lindelof, Rio Dubois, Ava Schlottman, Jonathan Runnion-Bareford and Olivia Britton.

Islesboro secured the No. 7 spot for the Class D South playoffs. The Eagles soared past No. 10 A.R. Gould of South Portland 8-1 in a prelim playoff game, then fell to No. 2 Buckfield 5-3 in the quarterfinals.

“I think [the season] went really well,” said McHugh. “Our record doesn’t really reflect I think how much we improved as a team. Our record was 3-5-3 in the regular season. But the losses, two of them were within a goal. Our record definitely could have been better.”

The Eagles entered the playoffs on a five-match winless streak and went into their prelim playoff game with the Bears “cautiously optimistic.”

That, and the game was “a logistical nightmare” as the islanders were forced to give up home-field advantage to the Bears.

A.R. Gould is part of the Long Creek Youth Development Center — a juvenile corrections facility in South Portland — and thus, do not play road games during the soccer season.

But, in the end, Islesboro had at least six players net goals in the 8-1 victory.

“I made sure that the players maintained their focus and just thought about this one game in front of them as opposed to looking ahead, and I think that worked out well for them,” he said. “We had a lot of chances in that game and we capitalized on them.”

Then, the Eagles ran into a topnotch Buckfield team and saw their season come to a close. O’Malia scored the three goals in the loss for Islesboro.

McHugh fell short of anointing Buckfield the best team they had played this season, but said “they had the most depth, they had a strong bench and every player on their team was pretty solid.”

The Eagles also lost eighth-grade defender Lake Lindelof late in the first half of their quarterfinal against the Bucks to a broken leg. McHugh left the game to go with Lindelof to the hospital, while assistant coach and athletic director Colden Golann guided the soccer team in the second half.

McHugh said Lindelof was “one of our more athletic players and skilled players, so losing him for the second half really hurt our chances in that game.”

He added that his team went the entire year without a true goalie, alternating between Runnion-Bareford, Kehoe and Howell, the latter of whom won the job late in the season.

Islesboro also had more female team members than any other squad on its schedule. Coed teams play in the boys division, but more often than not, have only two or three female players.

But McHugh did not view that as a disadvantage.

“We had a lot of girls and a huge variation among players in skill and athleticism,” he said. “But we had a few girls who were absolutely tough as nails and did really well all season.”

Courier Publications' sports staff can be reached by email at sports@villagesoup.com or by phone at 594-4401.

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