Ellsworth runners compete in virtual Boston Marathon – September 16, 2020 Bio Latest Posts Mike MandellMike Mandell is the sports editor at The Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander. He began working for The American in August 2016. You can reach him via email at [email protected] Latest posts by Mike Mandell (see all) Hospice volunteers help families navigate grief and find hope – September 12, 2020 MPA approves golf, XC, field hockey, soccer; football, volleyball moved to spring – September 10, 2020 BUCKSPORT — From the moment the season-opening whistle sounded, the Bucksport girls’ soccer team has been given all it can handle.A challenging 2019 slate has seen Bucksport play seven games against top Class C North teams and 11 against teams headed to the upcoming Northern Maine playoffs. The Golden Bucks have had to handle that difficult stretch with a group of underclassmen looking to make its mark after a four-win campaign a season ago.Through all of it, though, Bucksport has found a way to improve with each passing game. Now, as the Golden Bucks head to the postseason for the ninth consecutive year, they’ll be doing so in peak form as winners of six consecutive games.“We have a young team with a lot of underclassmen, but our girls are in a good place mentally at this point in the season,” Bucksport head coach Mike Garcelon said. “I think we’re really playing good soccer and communicating well as a team.”Bucksport’s Addie Morrison scores a goal during the first half of a high school girls’ soccer game against Washington Academy on Oct. 21 at Bucksport High School. Morrison scored a hat trick to give Bucksport a 3-1 over Washington Academy in Monday’s regular season finale. RICK MCHALE PHOTOThis is placeholder textThis is placeholder textBucksport was faced with a daunting schedule to start the season with contests against Orono, Dexter and Central, three perennial Class C North challengers. After bookending a win over the Tigers with losses to the Red Riots and Devils, the Golden Bucks beat George Stevens Academy, Sumner and Mattanawcook Academy before losing rematches with Orono and Central to drop to 4-4.Then, on Sept. 30, the Golden Bucks got one of their biggest wins to date when they registered a 3-1 victory over a Calais team that entered the game with a 7-1 record. That marked the start of a six-game span that saw the Golden Bucks outscore opponents by a combined margin of 27-10 to finish the regular season with a 10-4 record.Arguably the biggest confidence-booster during that stretch, though, came in the Golden Bucks’ Oct. 4 contest against Washington Academy. That game saw the Golden Bucks fall behind by three goals in East Machias before storming back to earn a 5-4 win.“When we were down 4-1, I told the girls, ‘Listen, we’re going to come back, and we’re going to win this thing 5-4,’” assistant coach Sarah Lanpher said. “With each goal, they started to believe a little bit more, and they pulled it out.”Bucksport has gotten its goals from a variety of sources throughout the season. Between Addie Morrison’s three-goal game in Monday’s 3-1 win over Washington Academy in the regular season finale, Ella Hosford’s spree of multi-goal efforts and key tallies from Madison Frazier, Alyssa Maguire, Lanie Stubbs and a handful of others, the Golden Bucks have put opposing defenses on notice.“I think that’s a big difference for us this year,” Garcelon said. “In past years, we might have some players who could score for us, but having so many this year has really helped us step up our offense.”The Golden Bucks’ recent offensive breakthrough has been coupled with significant improvements in the defensive third. After conceding two or more goals six times in the first eight games, Bucksport has done so just once in the past six.Bucksport’s Alexis Wardwell defends against Washington Academy’s Siobhan Duffy during the first half of a high school girls’ soccer game Oct. 21 at Bucksport High School. The fifth-ranked Golden Bucks (10-4) will take on No. 4 Orono (8-3-3) in next week’s Class C North quarterfinals. ELLSWORTH AMERICAN PHOTO BY MIKE MANDELLBoth offensively and defensively, Bucksport owes much of its success to its strong rotations. The Golden Bucks have a number of players who can play anywhere on the pitch, adding versatility in the team’s back four, midfield and attack.“We’ve really stressed being able to rotate well, especially on defense,” Lanpher said. “It’s important that you have players who can help your team in different ways, and I think we’ve seen a lot of that.”The fifth-ranked Golden Bucks will look to avenge two of their four losses this season when they travel to face No. 4 Orono (8-3-3) in the regional quarterfinals. That game is scheduled for 3 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 29.“We’re confident, but we’re also putting in a lot of hard work,” junior midfielder Alexis Wardwell said. “Hopefully, we can make it far.”Eagles, Trojans, Mariners headed to playoffsBucksport won’t be the only Hancock County girls’ team headed to this year’s playoffs as Ellsworth, Mount Desert Island and Deer Isle-Stonington have also qualified for the postseason.The local playoff slate is set to begin Friday, Oct. 25, with two games scheduled for 3 p.m. starts. No. 9 Ellsworth (5-8-1) plays on the road against eighth-ranked Foxcroft (5-8-1) in the Class B North preliminary round, and the No. 12 Deer Isle-Stonington girls (4-8-2) will take on No. 5 Southern Aroostook (9-5) in a Class D North prelim game in Dyer Brook.MDI (12-2) earned a bye to the Class B North quarterfinals as the No. 3 seed in the region. The Trojans will host sixth-ranked Winslow (7-4-3) at 5 p.m. Tuesday.
It goes without saying that Badger fans were heartbroken following the team’s heartbreaking 61-56 loss Friday in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament.They were sad — very, very sad.But I am here to tell you, as hard as it may be, to stop being sad because, believe it or not, others in the college basketball world are going through a much tougher time than you are. Badger fans continue to weep after a season of overachieving went wrong in 20 seconds, while other programs severely underachieved.Here are three things to consider as you stop crying over Wisconsin’s crushing defeat:Brazzoni: Missed opportunities paved way for Wisconsin’s heartbreaking collapseFollowing the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team’s epic collapse against Notre Dame Friday March 25 in the NCAA Sweet Read…1. Look at KansasKansas was easily the most consistent and well-rounded team all season in college hoops. They were a senior-led team that shot as well from the outside as they did on the inside. The Jayhawks were also the clear favorite to win the national championship.There was plenty of optimism in a championship or bust year for Kansas, as fans were confident their team would return to the top for the first time since 2008.Head coach Bill Self and his Jayhawks, however, choked in the Elite Eight. It was one of the more impressive seasons in Kansas’ recent history and they didn’t even have a Final Four to show from it. Talk about actual disappointment.The state of Kansas right now… pic.twitter.com/jWSvvGvUzi— Fake SportsCenter (@FakeSportsCentr) March 27, 2016But not all is lost for Kansas, as while they lose their best player in forward Perry Ellis to graduation, every other important piece to their roster will likely return for another year in the program.2. Look at VirginiaThe stage was set for the Cavaliers.Michigan State, who has been the program’s kryptonite for the past two NCAA tournaments, unexpectedly lost in the first round to No. 15 Middle Tennessee. The next best team, Utah, was blown out by Gonzaga in the next round. After blowing past Iowa State in the Sweet 16, the only thing keep head coach Tony Bennett from the Final Four he has craved for years was a Syracuse team that many thought should have never been in the tournament.Naturally, in true Virginia fashion, the Cavaliers blew a 16-point lead against the Orange in the second half of their regional semifinal.Now, after losing its two top scorers, including one of the country’s best players in guard Malcolm Brogdon, Bennett and Virginia will have to work to replace nearly half of its scoring output.Another year, another missed Final Four for Bennett — despite once again having one of the most talented teams in the country — and another year of depressed Virginia fans.https://twitter.com/_MarcusD_/status/714248415190777856?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw3. Look at WisconsinIt’s been the narrative following this team all tournament: This team is overachieving after pulling off one of the most improbable turnarounds in the history of the sport.They lost to Xavier, a team that they were probably better than, but it also took a pair of miracle outside shots from junior guard Bronson Koenig for them to be in that situation.Men’s basketball: Badgers feel the sting of March, fall in Sweet SixteenIn a span of just 19 seconds, a third straight trip to the Elite Eight slipped out of Wisconsin’s grasp Read…The fact is they lost, and while underachieving teams like Kansas and Virginia will lose key pieces to their failed championship runs, the Badgers will not only likely return every player in their rotation next season, but they also add one piece many fans are forgetting about.Freshman forward Andy Van Vliet out of Belgium will be eligible to play next season, adding yet another offensive threat from both the inside and outside. Van Vliet is skilled far beyond his years, and after adding a bit of muscle to his 6-foot-11 frame this offseason, he will be more than ready for his sophomore season.Wipe your tears away and rest easy, Badger fans. The future is bright, and that’s not a luxury many other programs have at the moment.