It will require a strong effort to break through in either the Class A or B divisions in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference. Senior-laden Oxford Hills is primed with 16 lettermen spread throughout the field. All-state Tia Pratt leads the front line, and the depth should pay off. The midfield will also be a strength with all-conference Tierra Durgin, Sam Dolloff, Brandi Libby and Alyssa Snow. Five-time state champion Skowhegan, Gardiner, Cony and Messalonskee secure the first four seeds, annually. The remaining teams battle for the lower rankings and struggle to advance beyond the quarterfinals. Mt. Blue falls in with a .500 record, so it needs to be consistent every game. Class B Leavitt is coming off a fine 11-3 campaign and expects to challenge for the top spot. The bulk of the offense must be replaced. The Hornets have some very talented younger players ready to step up. Belfast, Rockland and Camden Hills will each be strong. Oak Hill was winless in 2005. The new season will give the team an opportunity to build.

Trhings can be deceiving in the Western Maine Conference because there are plenty of surprises through out the regular season. Just ask Saint Dominics who has won seven-straight Class C championships. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always translate in to success in the postseason. Still, the Saints return 10 lettermen and have the mind-set to repeat. Sophomore Mary Lewis will spear-head the attack, along with Erika VanderWerf. In Class B, Fryeburg, Poland and Gray-New Gloucester each look for improvement. It has been hard-sledding in the WMC against frontrunners Greely and Lake Region. Poland won two games last year and lost six starters, so it will provide the returning lettermen with the challenge of providing leadership.

The Mountain Valley Conference has been dominated by Telstar and Livermore Falls the previous two seasons as they earned double-digit wins and advanced to the regional final. Telstar won both times, including a 3-2 overtime thriller in 2005. Each team suffered heavy graduation losses, so there is a great opportunity for the rest of the conference to make some headway. Telstar has several holes to fill, but it was able to give the returnees ample playing time. This experience should pay off, especially on the speedy forward line. Tonie Morin is very versatile and will be expected to help out an inexperienced defense. Livermore Falls also must fill several holes and the high-flying offense may need time to regroup. Whitney McDaniel (10 goals), Becca Leclerc (seven) and Rachel Ventrella (nine) will lead the offense. The defense will be green, but Sam Whiting has been solid in goal. Winthrop, Lisbon and Jay each return plenty of experience and will be threats. A lot might depend on how well the respective teams do in the first two weeks of the regular season. Megan McCarthy will lead Winthrop in the midfield and needs to feed scorers Kristi Zimmerman (seven), Brianna Tupper (11) and Brittany Gaudet (six). The Ramblers’ team speed has been an asset. Lisbon has eight lettermen, lead by goalie Rachel Beal, sweeper Kristal Robishaw and fullback Heather Parry. Mountain Valley and Dirigo each have veteran goalies in Kim Clark and Dani Thompkins, respectively. Sara Martin and Lauren LePage lead the Falcons offense. The Cougars have been hindered by a lack of offense. It will be interesting to see how Hall-Dale responds, following the retirement of veteran coach and Rumford native Ellen Vickers.

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