RICHMOND — Two of the top girls soccer teams in their respective classes last year clashed for the first time this season on Wednesday.

Monmouth/Winthrop forward Alicen Burnham gets off a shot in front of Richmond defender MaryBeth Sloat during a game Wednesday in Richmond. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

Richmond (Class D) hosted Monmouth/Winthrop (Class C) in another game made possible this fall because of regionalized scheduling due to sports being played in a pandemic.

There are no playoffs in this season, but that didn’t stop the Mustangs and Bobcats from playing intense soccer Wednesday.

“They want to play and are into it. I don’t have to motivate them at all,” said Monmouth/Winthrop head coach Gary Trafton, whose team pulled out a 2-0 victory. 

The game was physical and played with passion, as both defenses refused to budge.

“We have been working so hard since the summer and have continued to work hard during this season,” Monmouth senior captain Ali Burnham said.

The Mustangs are coming off one of their best seasons in school history. After finishing the regular season with a perfect 14-0 record, they rolled into the Class C South semifinals, where they ran into a tough Maranacook squad.

Richmond’s Bry Shea, left and Monmouth/Winthrop’s Kerstin Paradis battle for the ball during a game Wednesday in Richmond. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

The Mustangs had high hopes this fall, before the coronavirus altered sports.

“We say before every practice and game that we’re going to prove ourselves and win out. That’s our championship and playoffs, to play every game like it’s our last,” Burham added. 

The Bobcats finished 12-4 overall last season, finishing second in Class D South before losing in the regional final to North Yarmouth Academy. They have found motivation in different ways this season.

“We have some tougher competition this season. So we’re trying to prove ourselves to a higher class,” Richmond junior captain Abby Harrington said. “It’s good competition and makes us better players when we play these types of games.”

The Mustangs held possession for most of the game, but Richmond created some decent chances throughout, all of which were denied by Monmouth goalie Emma Johnson (11 saves). 

Bobcats goalie Liz Johnson (17 saves) kept her team in the game early, denying several shots with a couple of big-time saves.

Richmond keeper Liz Johnson catches a ball during a game against Monmouth on Wednesday in Richmond. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

The Mustangs broke through with just over five minutes left in the first half, when Burnham fired a shot with her left foot into the bottom right of the Richmond goal. Evelyn Guimond had the assist.

Both teams made noticeable adjustments to start the second half.

The Bobcats had more energy in the second half, and put more shots on goal as a result. Laura Brown and Alana Hixon each had several big shots that were turned aside.

Mya Sirois doubled the Mustangs’ lead halfway through the second half, putting home a rebound off a shot by teammate Megan Ham that was saved by Johnson. 

“I told the team before the game, they were (Richmond) going to play hard and come after us, that’s what they did,” Trafton said.

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