High school girls soccer

Net success: Tricky Kelly, unbeaten Windjammers have nose for goal

Camden Hills sophomore nets hat trick in eight straight games, eyes school scoring records
By Mark Haskell | Oct 06, 2017
Photo by: Ken Waltz Camden Hills' Kristina Kelly, in white, on the move to the goal against Messalonskee in a game this season.

Rockport — It has been another stellar season for the Camden Hills girls soccer team as the defending state Class A champion Windjammers are undefeated through 11 games.

And for sophomore forward and goal-scoring machine Kristina Kelly, good things this fall have come in threes.

The multi-talented, tremendously-athletic, 5-foot 2-inch Kelly has maintained a torrid scoring pace on the season, particularly in the past eight games as she has scored three goals, known as a hat trick, in each contest, which resulted in Windjammer victories over Skowhegan, Mount Ararat of Topsham, Oceanside of Rockland/Thomaston, Lewiston, Cony of Augusta, Edward Little of Auburn, Medomak Valley of Waldoboro and Bangor.

“The games are going really well,” said the 15-year-old Kelly. “The offense is just working so well together it makes scoring easy. I’m not the only one that’s been scoring quite a few, but it’s worked out really well.”

Kelly has 27 goals on the season and, coupled with her 32 goals as a freshman — a single-season scoring record for the school — has 59 varsity goals and is only eight shy (67) of tying the school career scoring record, co-owned by Charlotte Messer and Emma Gutheinz.

Kelly said her goal, no pun intended, is to finished with 36 balls in the net this season, which would give her the new school scoring record of 68 — with two years of high school left to play.

“I just thought it would be really cool to achieve that goal,” said Kelly. “But I’m trying not to go out of my way to just keep shooting and share the wealth with everybody else.”

Veteran coach Meredith Messer said Kelly got many of her goals past year solely based on her tremendous speed. This season, she continues to improve her all-around game.

“She is stronger physically and she has the knowledge of the position that she gained from last season,” the coach said. “She is moving off the ball incredibly well, which is opening up things for her. She spent the first three games gauging her distance and power and in the last seven games many of her goals have been rockets and well-placed. She gets her share of breakaway goals, but she is also creating her own opportunities.”

Messer said Kelly is as quick with the ball as without, but can kick it into a higher gear, which “leaves most defenders behind her.” She added that Kelly “keeps the ball so close to her feet when she dribbles in tight spaces that is is hard to get the ball away from her.”

“Kris also has mental toughness when she competes,” said Messer. “I often feel like the first few shots are warnings that something is coming and you better get ready. She is determined to perform and she has the ability to let missed shots go and focus on the next opportunity. She doesn't react to officials’ calls or what other players say and do. She [just] keeps playing hard. She never lets up.”

Kelly, also a standout basketball and track-and-field athlete (in middle school, she also was one of the area's finest distance runners), has been involved in 38 scoring plays for Camden Hills this season — just more than half the team’s goals (75).

Kelly, said she typically does not get double-teamed, but when she does, her teammates “play more through-balls so I don’t have to take it on two-versus-one.”

She added that the position she plays — right wing — also factors into her not drawing a great deal of double-teams.

“I like the wing because there’s more space and I can take defenders on one-versus-one more,” she said. “And then I have more opportunities for overlaps, which I really like.”

The Windjammers, who have a bundle of skilled, talented players, along with Kelly, have not lost a game in over a calendar year, with their last defeat on Sept. 20, 2016 — a 3-2 home loss to Bangor.

Camden Hills avenged that loss Saturday, Oct. 7 with a 4-0 win over Bangor.

The Rams have been the Windjammers’ stiffest competition over the past two years. Camden Hills beat Bangor 2-0 in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A championship last year and outlasted the Rams 3-2 in last year’s regional final en route to their first state title.

The Windjammers will face top-ranked Brunswick on Tuesday, Oct. 10 and travel to Hampden Academy on Thursday, Oct. 12, which, coupled with Saturday's game against Bangor, makes this three-game stretch their most challenging of the season.

Kelly and Messer agree that Camden Hills is not only up to the challenge, they enjoy it.

“We definitely take a lot of pride in being undefeated,” said Kelly. “To show that we’re improving from last year. This year we want to show we can do it [win the state title] twice in a row and we can be even better.”

“We love competition and the rivalry with Bangor has developed in such a way that it brings out the best in us,” said Messer prior to Saturday's win over the Rams. “The regular-season games should show us what we still need to focus on in the postseason. I am hoping that these next three games test us and challenge us in a way that will show us what we need to fine-tune as we go into playoffs.”

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