The semifinal rounds were the furthest that any of the local girls’ soccer teams advanced in tournament play last year. Those teams – Maranacook, St. Dom’s, Dirigo, Buckfield and Rangeley – could make another run this year, while other squads hope to be in the hunt.

Class A

Waterville and Mt. Ararat both reached the regional final. Both teams return formidable clubs and should be contenders again. Brunswick, Bangor and Morse are teams to watch as well. Only three local clubs qualified for the tournament last year. Mt. Blue reached the quarterfinals, but the Cougars lost eight starters and will be younger. Oxford Hills also has a young squad and a new coach. Edward Little, which lost a prelim last fall, has a solid group returning and could be on the rise. The Red Eddies should be strong in the midfield and on defense. Leavitt also hopes to make some noise this season. The Hornets, who graduated nine seniors, but return eight starters, lost five games by one goal and hope to reverse that fortune. Lewiston also hopes to improve with experience in the midfield and in goal.

Class B

Maranacook went 13-1, but lost in the semifinals. The Black Bears have a deep and balanced squad that should contend. They’ll be up against some of the WMC’s finest in Falmouth, Yarmouth, York and Lake Region. Lisbon could come out of the MVC, while Oak Hill and Mountain Valley could be two clubs on the move.

The Raiders are a seasoned group looking to build off last year. The Falcons have 14 seniors back. Poland, Fryeburg and Gray-New Gloucester each have new coaches and relatively young clubs that hope to make up some ground in the WMC. Winslow, the defending regional champ, should be a power in the East.

Class C

The WMC tandem of NYA and Waynflete should be potent once again. St. Dom’s could be another team in the mix. The Saints lost 10 seniors, but should regroup well enough to build a contender A number of MVC clubs hope to do the same. Mt. Abram has seven starters back and has strength in the middle and in goal. Monmouth has a pair of all-state talents leading the way. Dirigo misses a talented senior class, but has a young group that could earn a playoff spot. Winthrop lost four vital seniors, but still has a nucleus back.

Class D

Richmond is the creme of the crop once again. The Bobcats lost in the state game after a 13-1 regular season. Richmond lost valuable talent but still have the makings of a championship team. Buckfield and Rangeley each have the core of their clubs back.

– Kevin Mills

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