PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Kayla Legassie and Sarah Porter of Presque Isle are about as tough a 1-2 punch as you’ll find in the Class B girls soccer ranks.
John Bapst of Bangor found that out the hard way Tuesday, as Legassie scored her 67th and 68th career goals, one of which was assisted by Porter, to fuel top-seeded Presque Isle’s 3-0 Eastern Maine quarterfinal victory over the No. 8 Crusaders on a drizzly afternoon at the Johnson Complex.
Coach Ralph Michaud’s Wildcats, now 14-1, await the winner of today’s 3 p.m. matchup between No. 5 Caribou and No. 4 Ellsworth, while Bapst finished 10-5-1.
The Crusaders beat PI in a quarterfinal here two years ago, but the ’Cats came out of the gates aggressive, not ready to let a similar result occur.
“Our whole team came out with fire, all energized,” said Legassie, who put the hosts on the board with 8:21 to play in the first half.
Kayla Richards started the sequence by winning a goal kick in the midfield, and Legassie broke down the left flank and clanged the ball off the left goalpost and into the right side of the net.
Then, 3:35 after halftime, the dynamic duo went to work.
Porter sent a high, arching corner kick into the penalty area where Legassie was waiting, and she nailed a driving header past helpless Bapst ’keeper Laura Jordan.
“That’s what we do,” said a smiling Porter.
Jenna Stephenson capped the scoring with 9:19 left in regulation, knocking home a Chelsea Nickerson rebound.
The taller, quicker Wildcats were relentless up front, controlling the midfield and winning a great percentage of 50-50 balls and keeping possession in their offensive end of the field.
“I just thought we did a real good job in the air when they took goal kicks and direct kicks,” Michaud said.
That was particularly true in the second half, when Presque Isle had the wind at its back and applied a lot more pressure on the Crusaders’ back line.
“Shots, shots, shots. We had the wind to our advantage,” Legassie said of the Wildcats’ second-half strategy.
As outstanding as the Wildcats were up front — they generated 35 shots and fed their attackers with sound crosses — their back line was just as efficient, keeping Crusaders striker Morgan Chasse in check while holding Bapst to eight shots, including only one in the second half.
“Everyone from our strikers to our goalie to our bench, everyone came out ready to play,” Porter said.
The Wildcats marked Chasse with two defenders throughout the match while keeping a close eye on other threats, such as Kirsty Moriarty and Kate Gerow.
“[Chasse’s] usually the farthest one up on their team. As long as everyone’s aware of where she was on the field, we knew we could get back in time to mark up other [players],” said Porter.
Porter, Legassie and their classmates had never advanced past the quarterfinals prior to Tuesday, so the victory was certainly sweet for them.
“It’s nice to beat anyone in a playoff game, but especially with our history with John Bapst, it feels so good,” Porter said.
“I’ve been waiting for it to happen,” added Legassie.
Kelsey Park came up with three saves for Presque Isle while Jordan finished with 12 for the Crusaders.