A battle between the last two Eastern Maine Class A champions highlights Wednesday’s schedule of regional schoolboy soccer finals.
That game is set for 5 p.m. at Bangor High School, where the top-seeded Rams will host No. 2 Brunswick.
Bangor defeated Brunswick in overtime to win the 2006 Eastern A final en route to the program’s first and only state championship, while Brunswick won the 2007 regional crown before falling to Scarborough in the state final.
David Patterson took over from Adam Leach as Bangor’s head coach this season, and with returning assistant coach Don Erb led the veteran Rams to a 15-0-1 record, including Saturday’s 2-0 semifinal victory over Mount Ararat of Topsham.
“My job was just to massage the situation and get them pointed in the right direction,” said Patterson, “and they’ve responded very, very well.”
The Rams have outscored their opponents in countable games by a combined 88-4, with junior Nick George (17 goals, eight assists) and senior Johnny Warren (nine goals, five assists) among the chief offensive catalysts.
Bangor also has gotten strong midfield play from Dan Taft, Cody Cormier, Mack Susi and Jacques Larochelle, while defenders Nate Frazier, Ryan Larochelle, Zane Gray, Kyle Savage and Colby Treadwell have been solid in front of Bud Angst, who has 11 shutouts in goal.
“There’s a lot of experience within the team, a lot of players who won it all two years ago and were stung last year,” said Patterson, “so they have a tremendous resolve for taking care of business in order to get to where they want to be.”
Bangor has met Brunswick twice on the soccer field already this season. The teams played to a scoreless tie during preseason, before Brunswick edged the Rams 1-0 in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A championship game on Oct. 25.
“I was aware of the great tradition Brunswick has in soccer, and now having seen them play that’s been absolutely reinforced,” said Patterson. “They don’t have a lot of weaknesses, they’re good in all areas of the field, so we’ll have our work cut out for us against them.”
The Dragons, who have won six state championships and 11 regional titles under 38th-year head coach Peter Gardner, also boast a veteran team that includes six senior starters.
Brunswick (14-1-1) is led by midfielder Matt Peabody as well as strikers Scott Jarosz and Jordan Timmreck. Jarosz and Timmreck each scored in the Dragons’ most recent victory, a 2-0 decision over Messalonskee of Oakland in last Saturday’s semifinals.
Junior goalie Peter Morrell made three saves to preserve Brunswick’s sixth consecutive shutout victory.
Gardner expects a highly competitive game in the regional final.
“They possess the ball, they run off the ball well, and they’re solid at every position on the field,” he said of Bangor. “They’re bigger than we are up front, and their defense is much bigger than our attackers.”
As is the case in Class A, the three other Eastern Maine boys soccer finals match the top two seeds in the final Heal point ratings.
In Class B, unbeaten Presque Isle (15-0-1) seeks its second regional title in four years when the Wildcats host No. 2 Camden Hills of Rockport. Camden Hills (13-2-1) last won a regional title in 1995, and secured its lone state crown in 1991.
Undefeated Madawaska (14-0-2) will play for its second straight Eastern C title when it hosts No. 2 Washington Academy of East Machias (15-1), while unbeaten and top-ranked Katahdin of Stacyville (15-0-1) battles Machias (12-4) for the Class D crown.
The Western D final also features a 1-2 matchup, with No. 2 Greenville (9-2-2) at defending state champion Richmond (15-0).
State championship matches are scheduled for Saturday at locations yet to be determined.
DAVE ALLEN PHOTO
Warren Zubrick (14) of Presque Isle battles Ellsworth goalie Justin Kane for a loose ball during Sat-urday’s Eastern Maine Class B boys soccer semifinal at Presque Isle. Presque Isle won 2-0 to im-prove its record to 15-0-1 on the season.