BAR HARBOR — After a frustrating loss early last week, the Mount Desert Island girls’ soccer team has completely flipped the script.
In their home opener last Monday, the Trojans fell to a 5-1 loss against visiting Hermon. That contest saw MDI make a number of key mistakes both offensively and defensively, and the team has since been working tirelessly to get better at both ends of the pitch.
“We’ve been working on refining our movement and possession as well as our combination passes and our touches instead of just ball-watching,” head coach May Dow said. “We need to be able to be there and capitalize on opportunities that come to us.”
In the three games since that bitter defeat, MDI’s improvements have been evident. Blowout wins last Wednesday over George Stevens Academy, Saturday over Old Town and Tuesday over Brewer have seen the Trojans excel in front of goal while neutralizing their opponents’ offensive threats.
On Wednesday, MDI produced a dominant effort all around to defeat GSA 9-0. The Trojans got five goals and three assists from Daisy Granholm, two goals from Lelia Weir, one goal and one assist from Zoe Olson, one goal from Jaiden Scott (her first varsity goal) and one assist each from Sophia Anderson, Cadi Howell and Julia Rush.
MDI was back in action again Saturday and breezed to a 7-0 victory in a Class B North showdown against Old Town. Granholm had four goals and one assist for the Trojans, and Weir (two goals and two assists), Hannah St. Amand (one goal) and Mei Cook and Rachel Leonard (one assist each) also contributed offensively in the win.
The Trojans’ first goal against Old Town came as Weir found the back of the net on a long-range strike from near midfield. That goal seemed to ignite MDI, which went on to score four more first-half goals en route to another home victory.
“[Lelia] sometimes makes it look so effortless,” Dow said. “She’s a very technical player, and she sees the field well. When you add in the range she has, she’s even more of a dangerous weapon for our team to have.”
MDI earned yet another win Tuesday with a 6-2 road victory over Brewer. The Trojans got four goals and two assists from Granholm, one goal and one assist from Cook, a goal from Zoe Olson and one assist each from Weir and Hannah St. Amand in the victory over the Class A Witches (0-4).
MDI also enjoyed strong play from its defenders and goalkeepers in all three wins. The team tried a number of different defensive combinations against GSA and Old Town and gave both goalkeepers, Sabine Costello-Sanders and Haley Leonardi, opportunities in net.
“We have a couple new girls in our back line this year, and it takes a team effort on that back line with everyone rotating in,” Dow said. “In that Hermon game, we didn’t do a good job of clearing balls out of our 18[-yard box], but in the past few games, we have.”
The Trojans, now 4-1 on the season, will face John Bapst (1-2) at 4 p.m. tomorrow, Sept. 18, at the University of Maine. MDI will then get five days of rest before taking on Caribou at 4 p.m. next Tuesday, Sept. 24.
Those games are big ones for a third-place MDI team looking to maintain its position near the top of Class B North. Dow thinks this year’s field is as competitive as ever, and with only 10 teams eligible for the playoffs this season rather than 14, there is little margin for error.
“Every game is going to count, and we have to come ready to play every night,” Dow said. “For us, what helps is that our team dynamic right now is in a really good place right now. There’s no drama with this group, and they want what’s best for each other.”