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Prospect girls have big shoes to fill

Girls fall to Bow in first game of the new season

SARAH CLIFFORD controls the ball during action against Bow on Aug. 27 in Alton. Kathy Sutherland. (click for larger version)
August 30, 2010
ALTON — The loss of six key starters from last year's Final Four squad may be tough to overcome, but coach Matt Locke's Prospect Mountain girls' soccer team is ready to give it a shot.

The team lost five seniors to graduation and lost star Josie Couch to Brewster Academy, leaving them with a solid core, but one that is a bit depleted from the team that finished 12-3-1 last season and advanced to the Class M semifinals.

"Everything's doable," Locke said. "I'm excited, I'm optimistic and having a great time."

The Timber Wolves will certainly have their hands full with a difficult schedule that includes Gilford twice, Somersworth twice, Campbell twice and Belmont twice, as well as games against Bow and Kearsarge, two teams who have dropped down to Division III. Both teams were solid Class I contenders last season.

"The schedule is very difficult, but we'll be ready for the playoffs because we've got some good experience," Locke said.

The Timber Wolves had about 45 kids out for the first day of practice and Locke has a little more than 20 on the varsity roster, while new JV coach Shannon Rubelt will work with the rest of the squad.

The Timber Wolves have only one senior with significant starting experience, that being Sarah Clifford, but Locke is optimistic the remainder of the kids who have been with the team for a few years can step up and fill some big shoes.

Key to the success of the Timber Wolves' season will be goalie Danielle Tidd, who has been stellar in her first two seasons in net.

"That's a big plus, she's very gifted," Locke stated.

Also back for her junior season is defender Sahara Brown, who provides a steady, solid presence in the defensive backfield for the Timber Wolves.

Midfielder's Brittney Therrien and Clifford will be key, while Kelly Jones and Kirby Beranger will be counted on to produce at the front line. Jones, who enjoyed a spectacular freshman campaign last year, is battling an injury to start the season, but is expected to be a key contributor.

"Those are our core returning players and everyone else is filling in and there's some holes to be filled," Locke said.

First game

The Timber Wolves opened the season on Friday, Aug. 27, against one of the Division III newcomers, Bow, who was a top contender in Class I last season.

"They're a good team, one of the top teams in Class I last year," Locke stated. "But they're down here now and we've got to deal with them."

The two teams battled back and forth for much of the game, but it came down to a penalty kick in the final 30 seconds, which the Falcons converted and took a 2-1 win.

"I think we could've won that game," Locke said. "We had some good passing combinations, but too many times we looked like every other team.

"And you have to be able to pass the ball well," he continued.

Locke noted that he and the team have enjoyed the preseason and he even had the squad to his father's house on the lake to enjoy tubing and the jet ski.

"They're a lot of fun," he said of his squad.

The Timber Wolves were in action after deadline on Tuesday, Aug. 31, at Gilford and will return to action on Tuesday, Sept. 7, at Somersworth at 4 p.m.

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