BANGOR, Maine — Bangor’s last home soccer match against Hampden Academy produced its most disappointing moment in the last three years.
That came last fall, when the Broncos ousted the 2006 state champions in the Eastern A quarterfinals.
The Rams, unbeaten so far this season, were determined to make a better defense of their home turf against Hampden on Thursday evening, and erupted for three goals in the first 15:42 of play en route to a 3-0 victory.
“Losing to them last year was a conversation topic last night at practice, and seconds before the game the group of us that started talked about it in the huddle,” said senior midfielder Mack Susi, who scored two Bangor goals.
“We wanted to pay them back for what happened on our home field against them last year because it was a heart-breaking loss.”
Nick George also scored for 12-0-1 Bangor, while Zane Gray, Cody Cormier and Johnny Warren each had an assist as the Rams outshot Hampden 12-1 before intermission.
“This team has been very focused all year, and we talk about how as we go deeper and deeper into the season that focus becomes even more important,” said Bangor coach David Patterson.
“That first 20 or 25 minutes we put together tonight were phenomenal.”
Susi gave Bangor a 1-0 lead five minutes into the match off a pass across the goal crease by Gray.
George netted his 15th goal of the season five minutes later, outbattling two defenders for possession of the ball before scoring from point-blank range.
Warren later stole a pass after a Hampden throw-in some 35 yards from the goal, then dribbled toward the net and fed Susi for the Rams’ final goal with 24:18 left in the half.
“We need to make sure we are the team that sets the level of play,” said Warren, “and we definitely did that for the first 20 or 25 minutes.”
Hampden (7-4-2) battled Bangor more effectively late in the first half and particularly early in the second half, with Kevin Angelinetta and Abdullah Al Khayyat among those applying offensive pressure.
“It’s hard to compete with a team like Bangor just because they have that athleticism and quality of play,” said Hampden coach Kiaran McCormack.
“Toward the end of the first half and more in the second half we were able to match their athleticism, compete with them more, retain the ball and play more Hampden soccer and actually put them under a bit of pressure.”
Bud Angst saved all four shots on goal he faced to earn the Rams’ 10th shutout of the season.
Hampden’s Brad Melanson made 15 saves on 18 shots.
JV: Bangor 2-0