PRESQUE ISLE, Me. (WAGM) - It's a common theme this week. Programs that went to a state championship, graduated a decorated senior class, and now have to reload for the 2019 season. That's high school sports, it's unavoidable. But for the Presque Isle Wildcats girls soccer team, they're not only replacing a talented senior class, but replacing one of the most prolific scorers in Maine soccer history.
"Considering that she's the 5th all time leading scorer in the history of Maine soccer you probably don't replace her," Head Coach Ralph Michaud chuckled.
That her, is Madison Michaud. She scored 122 goals for the Wildcats over her career and was named an All American. Big shoes to fill for Presque Isle's next striker.
"I don't think anyone can fill Madison Michaud's shoes, she's a soccer legend," Senior striker Clara Kohlbacher said. "Playoffs did me give the confidence I needed for this year in being a senior and a leader."
Losing a scorer like that up front does necessitate a change in tactics. Especially for players in the midfield.
"Obviously it's going to be kind of a change of play for us," Senior midfielder Paige McHatten said. "I'm looking forward to building up the play in the middle and looking out for strikers like Clara and Elena Legasse and just trying to feed them the ball and see what they can do with it."
The Wildcats lost a bunch of players, but they get back 8 rising seniors, who are all motivated to get back to states.
"The girls are hungry, they want to get back there," Michaud said. "I think they're pretty motivated to say yes we had very talented seniors but we're talented too."
And these rising seniors, they're a persevering bunch.
"I mean obviously this team has gone through a lot of adversity so I think this year we can keep up with the spirit of our team and just kind of see past that and do things the County way," McHatten said.
Other than adjusting to the graduated seniors, the Wildcats will have to adjust to a new turf field, which is a bit longer and holds up the ball a bit more, but so far the reviews are positive.
"This turf is awesome, I love it, it's so bouncy," Kohlbacher said. "It gives so much support for running, I'm so glad we got it for my senior year."
Presque Isle opens up their quest for three straight state finals on Saturday, September 7th on the new turf at the Johnson Athletic Complex against MDI.