(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.)
(Paris ME) Brunswick may have started slowly but when the game versus Oxford Hills was over, they owned a 5-0 shutout on Thursday afternoon in the season opener for both squads.
“I thought we were second to the ball in the first half,” said Brunswick coach Martyn Davison post-game. “It’s our first game and we’re not as fit as we need to be. Once we got up to the speed of the game we dominated.”
The Vikings were only down by a goal after a half, but things went south after the break.
“The majority of the possession in the first half was in their defensive end,” explained OH coach Brittany Moore afterwards, “but that penalty in the first half changed the tempo of the game. Then they immediately got another penalty kick to begin the second half.”
Freshman Alexis Morin played a key role in the Dragons’ victory in just her first game on the team.
Alexis’ persistent toward-the-net style forced Oxford Hills into the second penalty shot.
Alexis would go on to score Brunswick’s next two goals.
“I coach youth soccer in Brunswick, so I had seen her (Alexis) play,” recalled Coach Davison. “She does a fantastic job.”
Senior Mia Klimash took and made both of Brunswick’s penalty kicks.
I asked Coach Davison about the PKs, noting that both times Mia had shot to the right.
“I never watch,” he told me, “I’m superstitious.”
Mia’s first penalty kick was awarded after an OH handball in the box, nine minutes into the game. Mia drove home a low ball to the right corner. That was the only first-half goal for the Dragons.
However, in the closing seconds of the half, Brunswick came very, very close to getting another when Alexis Morin got in behind the Vikings defense. She was one-on-one with OH goalie Maddy Herrick but came away empty.
“I told Maddy before the game that ‘once you make a decision, go with it,’” said Coach Moore. “She made some good saves.”
Maddy’s remarkable save kept the deficit to one goal but that changed quickly in the second half after a second penalty call.
Alexis’ aggressive style led to a trip in the box by an OH defender just 1 ½ minutes into the second half.
Mia Klimash again was selected for the PK. This time her kick was to the upper corner of the right side.
Now down, 2-0 the Vikings didn’t go away. They persisted, had chances, but couldn’t find a finisher.
“We took care of our chances, and they didn’t,” said Coach Davison.
Alexis scored her first goal after getting a long lead pass from Riley McAlister on the left side. Alexis finished her run with a shot that looked (to me) to have deflected off a defender. That was at 28:15.
Later, more pressure from Alexis from the left on a clean break in. Her second goal made it 4-0 at 13:09.
Senior Molly Taub tallied Brunswick’s final goal at 3:50. Molly approached from the right and pounded a shot into the upper left side.
Brunswick was impressive but they have two games ahead with Camden. “They have won four straight titles,” said Coach Davison. “We don’t play them for a while.”
Two weeks ago, Coach Davison thought he had a great team set up for this season. “I still think we can be great but my top goalie and striker both transferred to private schools. I also lost my center defender.”
Coach Moore is in her first season coaching at Oxford Hills. “I coached boys’ soccer at Vinal Tech in Middletown (CT) last season.”
Coach Moore: “I have been impressed with the girls I’m coaching. They learn fast and they want to get better. Those PK fouls are definitely things we can work on.”
Fans yelling at the referees. It never gets old…..but it should.
The name of the Oxford Hills goalie is Maddy Herrick. I heard the name and thought it sounded familiar. I hope I have this right but I’m quite sure that Maddy also races in the Rookie Division at Oxford Plains Speedway. She knows how to make quick decisions!
Nice weather, a working scoreboard, and rosters……….what more could I ask for?
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)