BANGOR, Maine — Thursday night’s game with Hampden Academy was a tale of two halves for the Bangor girls soccer team.
The Rams controlled the attacking third in the first half, generated 19 shots at goal and raced out to a 3-1 halftime lead.
However, the valiant Broncos fought back in the second, closing to within one goal after falling behind 4-1, but it wouldn’t be enough, as Bangor withstood a purple-and-white barrage and earned its first win of the season with a 4-3 triumph at the high school field.
The 1-1 Rams’ back line buckled down after HA’s Katie Chambers scored her second goal of the match, heading in a Michaela Stephenson corner kick in the 67th minute to close the gap to one.
“We know what it feels like to lose to Hampden, we were going to make sure that didn’t happen again,” said forward Eliza Estabrook, who assisted on what proved to be the game-winning goal.
Estabrook dribbled down the midfield and penetrated to-wards the netfront where Hampden’s defense swarmed, but she found a wide-open Denali Graham at the top of the penalty area, and Graham one-touched it just inside the right post.
“Once they pressured [Esta-brook] I called for the ball, she had a great pass back and it worked out,” said Graham, who scored two goals on the night.
Coach Jeff Ingalls’ Broncos (1-2) are fielding seven new starters this fall, but they showed no quit in digging themselves out of the deficit.
“They fought through it, it wasn’t enough, but we missed a couple of shots,” Ingalls said.
The Rams put the Broncs in a 2-0 hole 10 minutes into the game.
M.J. Boyce fed Estabrook just to the right of the top of the circle in the fifth minute and Estabrook slammed it inside the left post, while Erin Dean converted a cross from Annie McKay five minutes later.
“I don’t think we came ready to play and they sure did,” In-galls said.
The Rams came out with a lot of fire offensively, and Wednesday night’s effort in which they managed only three shots at goal against Waterville was far in the rearview mirror.
“We just kept pounding it in and the only way to score is if you get shots off, so we just kept shooting,” said Estabrook.
Bangor had a 28-12 advantage in shots.
After Hampden closed to within one, the Rams’ attackers stayed aggressive, attacking the midfield while getting solid penetration along the wings and not allowing the Broncos’ backs to clear the ball and get any offensive momentum go-ing.
“We tried to penetrate their defense a lot in the end. We tried to step it up when we real-ized we couldn’t be relaxed at the end,” said Graham.
The Broncos had a couple of chances in the final two min-utes, including a direct kick in the 78th minute after a Bangor player was yellow-carded for obstruction.
“That was quite nerve wracking the last three-four minutes of that game,” noted Bangor coach Joe Johnson.
HA had an even better chance in the final minute, but Ashley Robinson’s shot from about 25 yards out sailed just wide of the left post.
Robinson put the Broncos on the board in the 34th minute, curling home a pass from Sarah Lamberton.
Chambers scored her first goal in the 48th minute on a clean breakaway down the mid-field.
Rams’ keeper Kortnie Hudgens came up with six saves while Tessa Wood had 12 for the Broncos.