Proud daughter Nicole Stairs responds to dad’s homer with hat trick

Posted Oct. 14, 2008, at 10:46 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Monday evening, Nicole Stairs was a proud daughter as she watched her father Matt get the Philadelphia Phillies one step closer to the World Series with a game-winning, two-run homer in a 7-5 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Less than 24 hours later, the stage was set for the Bangor High School senior midfielder: Senior Night under the lights against archrival Brewer.

Now, its dad’s turn to be proud, as Stairs recorded her first career hat trick — scoring all the goals in the first half — as the Rams earned a 9-0 girls soccer victory over the Witches.

When coach Joe Johnson pulled Stairs just after scoring her third goal, there was a great sense of what she was going to do next.

“As soon as I got off the field I went and called him,” Stairs said. “I told him I had a hat trick and he said he was very proud of me.”

After Kendra Lenz one-touched a Denali Graham pass past helpless Brewer keeper Mel Judkins 1:30 into the match, Stairs took over, streaking unmarked down the left flank and striking a high, arching shot inside the right post.

Stairs’ last two goals were set up by Jenny Leach, the latter off a throw-in with 19:31 left in the first half.

She dedicated one of her goals to teammate Sarah MacDonald, who barely missed on a couple of opportunities late in the match.

“I know she tried really hard to get one so I’m going to give one to her,” Stairs said.

She added that she stayed with her grandfather so she could play in her Senior Night game while the rest of the Stairs clan was in Los Angeles.

The 9-2-1 Rams were looking for a strong start against a young Brewer team which has only four seniors on its roster.

“You certainly want to get an early lead in any game, it makes things to a lot easier,” said Johnson.

Now, the Rams hope their offense will be jumpstarted going into a Thursday showdown at Hampden Academy.

“It was a good boost for them and the ball movement was very good. They ran to space and played off the ball very well,” Johnson explained.

Brewer’s back line had trouble marking the quicker Rams, and Bangor attackers found themselves unmarked most of the game, as the Rams generated 46 shots at goal.

“We just didn’t mark very well. We watched the ball, let our marks get away from us,” Brewer coach Bill Schwarz said.

M.J. Boyce and Adriana Capuano added first-half goals for Bangor while Megan Doucette, Graham and Sadie Redman all recorded second-half tallies.

Capuano added an assist, while Amy Connor, Annie McKay and Eliza Estabrook all contributed assists.

“I’ve always said the more kids that score the better off you’re going to be,” said Johnson.

Kortnie Hudgens and Mia Smith combined to stop all six Brewer shots.

Judkins had 10 first-half saves while Colleen Gilley and Hannah Simmons recorded five each for 1-12 Brewer in the second half.

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