Tag Archives: Coach Deb LeBel

Windham soars 3-0 over Bangor for Class A state girls soccer title

Windham - 2013 Maine Class A state girls soccer champions

Windham – 2013 Maine Class A state girls soccer champions

Windham celebrating begins

Windham celebrating begins

(Bath ME) Who saw this coming?

The Windham girls’ soccer team made it look easy in defeating Bangor, 3-0, to get their first Class A title on a cold, sunny Saturday morning at McMann Field in Bath.

It took penalty kicks and overtime for the Eagles (17-0-1) to even get to the title game for the first time.

Meanwhile Bangor (16-2) came in having been in the Class A state finals four straight years……….talk about big game experience!

Grace Morris (15), Tiffany Gray (13), Jenna Soucy (23)

Grace Morris (15), Tiffany Gray (13), Jenna Soucy (23)

And then there’s that 65-4-2 record the Rams have put together over the past four seasons leading up to this title game.

But Bangor on this morning in Bath never had a chance against Windham.  The Eagles controlled the ball with precise short passes and took almost all the shots.

Still this game was a scoreless tie at halftime.  That score and Bangor’s track record made me suspect that the second half would be different.  I also wondered as a game dragged on if some sort of fluke score might decide it.

Surprisingly, things didn’t change much in the second half.  The Eagles continued to control the ball with terrific passing and again took most of the shots.  The big difference?  Three of their shots got past Bangor goalkeeper Emily Gilmore.

Ciera Berthiaume rips a shot through, and past, several defenders for the first Windham goal

Ciera Berthiaume rips a shot through, and past, several defenders for the first Windham goal

One of trio of goals came quickly.  Sophomore Ciera Berthiaume broke into the middle for a long shot.  The shot was high enough and hard enough that it got into the net over the head of the Rams goalie at 39:09.

Five minutes later Ciera nearly had a second goal as she was on the heading end of a crossing pass by Lauren Shoemaker from the right.  Ciera’s header back was very, very close to going in.

But Bangor hung on and as the minutes went by that one-goal Windham lead was not a comfortable one.

The Rams did get a couple of shots long-range in the second half that reached Windham GK Kate Kneeland but nothing to ooh-and-aah about.

If you’re looking for turning points (I couldn’t resist!), you might consider that Ciera Berthiaume went down at 14:28 appearing to “turn” her ankle.

You know it’s your day when an injury helps!  Out went Ciera and in came junior Luisa Sbardella.

1 1/2 minutes later, junior Jenna Soucy broke from right to left occupying most of the Bangor defense.  Jenna got off a hard shot in the penalty area as she went flying (diving?).  GK Emily Gilmore mishandled the shot and senior Emily Brookings tried to clear the ball away.  Replacement Luisa pressured Emily, forced a turnover, and fired a shot into the right corner at 12:59.

Jenna Soucy (23) gets off shot

Jenna Soucy (23) gets off shot

Shot is mishandled

Shot is mishandled

Emily Brookings (2) tries to clear the ball

Emily Brookings (2) tries to clear the ball

Luisa Sbadella steals and shoots what becomes the second Windham goal

Luisa Sbadella steals and shoots what becomes the second Windham goal

A two-goal lead, now that’s a different story with the way Windham was connecting on pass after pass.

Jenna Soucy, in the midst of four Rams, fires the third goal

Jenna Soucy, in the midst of four Rams, fires the third goal

Less than three minutes later, Jenna Soucy dribbled past, and around, a number of Rams defenders.  Five Rams were near her when she finally fired a shot from the middle in close.  The Rams GK never had a chance as Windham pushed their lead to, 3-0, with 10:11 to go.

The rest of the game was garbage time although Anna-Maria Dagher headed a corner kick over the net with 7 1/2 minutes left.

Bangor coach Joe Johnson started clearing his bench with 5 1/2 minutes left in the game and plenty of reserves saw action down the stretch for both teams.

Shannon Valente and Kate Kneeland

Shannon Valente and Kate Kneeland

The shot stats were eye-opening: Windham outshot Bangor 19-2 in the first half and 14-3 in the second half.  Windham GK Kate Kneeland had an easy morning with only three saves.  Believe me, in the previous tournament games the senior was under fire frequently………. but not this one.

Young Benjamin LeBel (week old?) was on hand for the game.

Coach Deb Lebel of Windham won three state Class B championships at Falmouth during her four years (2005-08) coaching there.

Bangor won the state title in 2011 defeating Scarborough, 4-0, at Falmouth Stadium.

Cordelia Stewart was slated to be the starting goalie for Bangor this year but suffered a knee injury.

Ariana Davidson (11) and Ann-Maria Dagher (9)

Ariana Davidson (11) and Ann-Maria Dagher (9)

The Windham defense was spectacular today.  It was their passing that caught my eye.  The passes were quick and teammates slide into open spaces.  You watch the pregame and one of the things most teams do is play keep away.  That game of keep away carried over into the actual game today for the Eagles.

Senior Emily Gilman ended her career today for the Eagles.  Emily is tall and tough.  She was a difference-maker in the way she limited high-scoring Amanda Arnold in the Thornton Academy game (Western Class A finals).

Bangor’s Tiffany Gray in the reigning Class A triple jump champion.  Tiffany missed 2012 for the Rams soccer team getting injured during the 2012 summer playing for a soccer travel team.

The Eagles had players come off their bench to play key roles in their final three games of the 2013 season.  Backup GK Liz Mycock was in net for Scarborough’s penalty kicks.  Reserve Emily Gorrivan shocked Thornton Academy with her goal in overtime and reserve Luisa Sbardella delivered the breathing-room, second goal in the title game.

Cassie Symonds draws a crowd of Rams

Cassie Symonds draws a crowd of Rams

McMann Field was opened in September.  I thought that the surface was outstanding………..money well spent.  Parking was dicey, however, but not unexpected with four important games running one right after the other.

Bangor and Windham had scrimmaged each other during the pre-season.

Windham will lose some key seniors but they have enough coming back to be in the hunt in 2014 in my opinion.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Katerina Dagher (6) and Ciera Berthiaume (15)

Katerina Dagher (6) and Ciera Berthiaume (15)

Ciera Berthiaume in position for a dangerous header

Ciera Berthiaume in position for a dangerous header

Emily Gorrivan gets in close

Emily Gorrivan gets in close

Anna-Maria Dagher (9) heads the ball over the net

Anna-Maria Dagher (9) heads the ball over the net

Bangor coach Joe Johnson

Bangor coach Joe Johnson

gold ball

gold ball

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Penalty kicks get Windham past Scarborough 1-0 in Western Class A semifinals

Liz Mycock blocks the penalty kick of Sam Sparda.

Liz Mycock blocks the penalty kick of Sam Sparda.

Windham celebrating begins on the field and in the stands

Windham celebrating begins on the field and in the stands

(Windham ME)  What a memorable day……..and I’m not just writing about the weather!

The Windham Lady Eagles used the penalty-kick route to get by nemesis Scarborough, 1-0, on a Saturday afternoon where both the weather and the girls’ soccer were terrific.

The win for the Eagles (15-0-1) pushes them into the Western Class A finals against Thornton Academy on Wednesday at Windham High School.

The last three times Windham has faced Scarborough (12-2-2), regulation and overtimes have not been enough to separate the two teams.

Today was the third time and since it was a state tournament game there was a step beyond regulation and overtimes………penalty kicks and they were needed in this Western Class A semifinal game.

backup Windham goalie Liz Mycock

backup Windham goalie Liz Mycock

The unlikely heroine for the Eagles in the penalty-kick part of this game was junior backup goalie Liz Mycock.  WHS coach Deb Lebel opted to switch in Liz ahead of starting goalie Kate Kneeland because as Coach Lebel said afterwards, “she is a little taller.”  Coach Lebel also added the Kate had no problem with the switch.

Sometimes a crucial decision like this one can backfire but it certainly didn’t this time for Windham.

In the first PK round, Liz gave up a goal to Katherine Kirk, but after that Scarborough was blanked on three straight attempts (Morgan Rodway, Hadlee Yescott, and Sam Sparda).

Meanwhile, Windham started with a goal by Jenna Soucy before Red Storm GK Sydney Martin turned back two straight Eagles attempts (Cassie Symonds and Jordan Sargent).

In the fourth round Emily Gilman put a grounder past Sydney into the right corner.

Liz Mycock watches the shot of Lauren Shoemaker go in the net to win the game for Windham

Liz Mycock watches the shot of Lauren Shoemaker go in the net to win the game for Windham

With Windham up two goals to one going into the fifth round, the stage was set for senior Lauren Shoemaker.  Lauren put a bullet high into the left corner and the Lady Eagles earned a trip to the Western Class A finals as a result.

This game was decided with penalty kicks but the primary reason it got that far was because of the extraordinary goalkeeping of Scarborough’s Sydney Martin.  No surprise that the senior was voted to the Western Class A All-Star team recently.

Sydney faced a ton of shots – 38 by one reporter’s estimate.  Jenna Soucy (two goals when team’s met two weeks ago) dribbled her way into excellent looks several times.  The most dangerous of Jenna’s attempts was midway through the second half.

There were several key moments in this game.

Scary moment as Cassie Symonds and Ainsley Jamieson go down from a collision.

Scary moment as Cassie Symonds and Ainsley Jamieson go down from a collision.

One of them was in the last 1 1/2 minutes of the first half when Cassie Symonds and Ainsley Jamieson had a nasty collision near midfield.  Both went down and walked off but Ainsley was done for the day with an injury to her left arm (wrist?).  The Red Storm defense missed Ainsley’s height and strong leg.

Another key moment happened with 2 1/2 minutes left in the first overtime.  Scarborough goalie Sydney Martin ran out from the goal and misfired on a goal kick.  The very short kick went straight to Windham’s Ariana Davidson who quickly lobbed a return over Sydney’s head that fortunately for Scarborough bounced off the crossbar.

Coach Lebel said that it would have been a tough way to win the game after the Red Storm goalie had played so well during the game.

Ciera Berthiaume chased by Bridget Cange

Ciera Berthiaume chased by Bridget Cange

One of the most dangerous scoring threats for Windham (sophomore Ciera Berthiaume) put several hard shots on net.

The Red Storm are the defending state Class A champions.

Windham has only lost twice in their last forty games, both times to Scarborough.

Scarborough has only lost five times in their last fifty-two games.

I was attracted to this game because of the terrific records these teams had going into this match.  Another attraction was that the Portland Press Herald’s, “25 Players to Watch,” included four players (Ciera Berthiaume, Cassie Symonds, Ainsley Jamieson, and Sydney Martin) playing in this one.

Windham and Scarborough tied in 2012 & 2013.  Scarborough won the previous four matches.

Cassie Symonds, Jenna Soucy, Jordan Sargent, and Emily Gilman made the 2013 Western Class A All-Star team for Windham.

Emily Gilman sets to take a direct kick

Emily Gilman sets to take a direct kick

Ashley Gleason, Ainsley Jamieson, Sydney Martin, and Hadlee Yescott made the same team for Scarborough.

Wonderful weather (high 60’s, sunny, light breeze) brought out a good crowd for both teams.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Liz Mycock chats with Sydney Martin before the penalty kicks begin

Liz Mycock chats with Sydney Martin before the penalty kicks begin

ball in the middle

ball in the middle

GK Sydney Martin out to clear away a threat

GK Sydney Martin out to clear away a threat

action in front of Scarborough goal

action in front of Scarborough goal

Hadles Yescott (8) and Shannon Valente (1)

Hadles Yescott (8) and Shannon Valente (1)

Scarborough team pre-game

Scarborough team pre-game

Jenna Soucy

Jenna Soucy

Morgan Rodway

Morgan Rodway

Sam Sparda

Sam Sparda

Ainsley Jamieson

Ainsley Jamieson

Jenna Soucy breaks between Elise OReilly and Sam Sparda

Jenna Soucy breaks between Elise OReilly and Sam Sparda

Windham GK Kate Kneeland, Ariana Davidson (11), and Katherine Kirk (21) in front of the Windham net

Windham GK Kate Kneeland, Ariana Davidson (11), and Katherine Kirk (21) in front of the Windham net

Hadlee Yescott sets to shoot as Emily Gilman closes in

Hadlee Yescott sets to shoot as Emily Gilman closes in

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