The Mountain Valley Conference has been competitive every fall, but Telstar and Jay appear at the head of the class this fall.

Telstar will be out to redeem itself after losing in the quarterfinals. A strength will be the return of its forward line. Jay has taken some lumps in the last two years, but the Tigers developed some depth during the lean years and have a solid defense.

Livermore Falls and Dirigo both have new coaches and may require time to get everyone on the same page. There are holes to fill, and it will start with replacing a pair of longtime goalies.

Winthrop and Lisbon have been close every year. A lot might depend on how well the respective teams do in the first two weeks of the regular season. Winthrop has some obvious questions from graduation. The offense scored 41 goals last year, but less than half of those points return. Lisbon reached the semifinals and believe it can go even further. A veteran defense will be counted on during the early season.

Mountain Valley, the only Class B team in the MVC, has found it difficult to earn a postseason berth.

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 Mt. Blue is coming off a 9-5-1 record. The team is being touted as its best in years, and the depth may pay off. Oxford Hills graduated 11 seniors, but there’s still some talent and the midfield must control the ball and feed the front line.

Both Edward Little and Lewiston need to develop some depth. A couple wins early on may help, but look for improvement by the second half of the season.

Six-time state champion Skowhegan, Gardiner, Cony and Messalonskee are favored to secure the first four seeds.

Leavitt is coming off a fine campaign and expects to challenge for the top spot in Class B. Belfast, Rockland and Mount View will each be strong.

Oak Hill has struggled to develop a consistent attack. The development of a junior high program has helped with the number of players. Maranacook may be hard-pressed to repeat its 10-win season. Look for the defense to help early on until the seven sophomores become accustomed to the pace.

St. Dom’s has won nine-straight Class C championships in the Western Maine Conference. The trend should continue in 2007. The offense scores goals, and the defense is hard to penetrate.

In Class B, Fryeburg, Poland and Gray-New Gloucester each look for improvement. It has been hard sledding in the WMC against powers York, Greely and Lake Region. Poland and G-NG each have new coaches, so climbing up the ladder may be even tougher.

– By Bob McPhee

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