(Paris ME) The Bangor Rams remain undefeated after a, 6-1, win over Oxford Hills this afternoon.
Devon St. Louis and Emmie Streams each had two goals for the Rams.
The victory sets up a battle on Wednesday between Bangor and equally undefeated Camden Hills at Rockport.
The Windjammers have won the last four Class A state titles and have a lengthy winning streak (71?) in place.
“Bangor had a run a few years ago where they had two championships in 4-5 years,” said Bangor coach Andrew Varisco after today’s game. “Camden has had that run going the last several years.”
In today’s game, Oxford Hills (3-4-1) played much better than the final score would suggest.
The Vikings rallied to tie the score at 1-1 and came close to tying the score at 2-2 in the second half.
“I was proud of the team in the first half,” said OH coach Brittany Moore post-game. “They went down a goal but kept the energy up and came right back.”
This was a 2-1 game twenty minutes into the second half. The next goal was going to be crucial, and Bangor got it.
The Rams have speedsters on their roster and used it to their advantage to set up the third goal.
Junior Anna Connors (Class A state champ 200m) broke down the left side in on Oxford Hills goalie Maddy Herrick.
Anna took a shot. Maddy saved it but there was a rebound to Maddy’s right. Both players went after the loose ball and Anna went flying. The Rams were awarded a penalty kick.
Emmie Streams took the PK at 19:15 and gave Bangor a, 3-1, lead.
“We pressure with our speed, and it has led to penalties,” said Coach Varisco. “We want to cause our opponents to make mistakes.”
Those on the Oxford Hills side weren’t sure that there was reason for a PK at all since Maddy was going after the ball.
The referee’s view appeared to be that Maddy had a right to go after the ball. She didn’t, however, have a right to trip someone else who was also going after the ball.
“Their third goal was a tough one,” said Coach Moore.
Emmie Streams had a successful PK in Bangor’s come-from-behind, 3-2 win over Brunswick last game and she was chosen to take the penalty kick in today’s game.
“I saw the goalie’s position,” said Emmie of today’s PK. “She was positioned more to the left so I thought I would have a better chance to the right.” And that’s where Emmie’s scoring shot went.
The Rams third goal was quickly followed by three more. In a decisive ten-minute stretch in the second half, the visitors tallied four times.
“I think if we knew that we were still in it we’d have had more to give in the end,” said Coach Moore.
“Their goalie (Maddy Herrick) had some good saves in the game,” said Coach Varisco afterwards. “The end result won’t show how well she played.”
Both teams had scoring chances thanks to terrific passing.
Oxford Hills senior Bella Devivo was set up beautifully for a goal by teammate Lizzy Dieterich in the first half.
Bangor junior Anna Connors did the same in the second half with a great pass in the middle to give senior Devon St. Louis a wide-open net to shoot at.
Both Rams first-half goals (Anna Connors and Devon St. Louis) happened on break-ins from the right side.
Emmie Streams’ tenth goal of the season was the direct result of an Oxford Hills turnover in their own end. An attempted clearing pass went to Emmie alone in the middle. Several quick dribbles (she’s the point guard on the basketball team) put her into position to score.
The Rams sixth goal was by sophomore Lily Chandler. Lily made a tough-angled shot from near the right endline into the far-left upper corner.
“Lily is a high-skilled player,” said Coach Varisco. “She doesn’t realize yet what her potential is. Long term she could be an outstanding player for us.”
I saw Oxford Hills opening, 6-0, loss to Brunswick. The improvement in the Vikings was noticeable.
“The team is very willing to learn,” explained Coach Moore. “We’ve been able to pick-and-choose what has created the most holes for us in games at practice. It is nice that they can learn so quickly.”
“We knew that they had some fast players, but I was impressed that we, especially Katie Hallee, could keep up with them,” added Coach Moore.
Coach Varisco: “We stress possession/control as a group. The longer the game went the better we got at it.”
Coach Varisco on the Rams style of play: “We don’t play a lot of over-the-top balls unless the defense is up high which they were doing some with us. If we can change from one side to the other, a quick switch, and get a diagonal behind, that always works really nicely.”
Coach Varisco on the upcoming Camden Hills game: “Coach Messer has a fantastic program going. The game will be our halfway point. We’ll be able to see where we are and what we need to work on. They’ll test us in many ways. We are used to seeing them twice during the regular season but not this year. The result of the game will influence seeding and who has home in the playoffs.”
There was no soccer tournament last season. In the previous four seasons (2016-2019), Camden Hills has knocked the Rams out of the playoffs.
The Rams don’t lose often as their 132-16-11 record over the previous eleven years would suggest.
The game on Wednesday is a reschedule from an earlier game that was postponed because of a wet field at Camden Hills. I actually showed up at the field and learned of the postponement there.
Nice crowd and nice soccer weather.
(All pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)