HAMPDEN, Maine — For the Yarmouth boys soccer team, state championship success seems to run in the family.
Senior captain Matt Morrill scored the game’s only goal with 17 minutes, 31 seconds left and led the Clippers to a 1-0 win over Presque Isle in the Class B state soccer championship on a soggy Saturday evening.
It was a moment of déjà vu for head coach Mike Hagerty, whose Clippers finished 13-3-2.
“When we played Ellsworth in 2004 and won, Judson Morrill was a senior and got the winning goal with less than a minute left,” Hagerty explained. “So I promised his brother Matt I’d give him five minutes up top and two minutes out there, he scored.”
Luke Pierce found Morrill near the left post with a pass from the right corner. He caught PI goalie Dillon Kingsbury off to the right and out, so he tapped it into the left corner of the net for the goal.
“It was a nice ball into the corner and a good cross from Luke,” Morrill said. “I thought the defender would come in and clear it away, but when it bounced to me, I just knew I had to get my foot in there and get a shot off.”
Morrill was converted from offense to defense this year after three seasons playing a different position.
“I’ve been a striker all my life, but coach told me I needed to be in the backfield. Every now and then, he gives me a chance to play up,” he said.
The goal carried plenty of meaning for Morrill.
“It means a lot, but not just for living up to what my brother did,” he explained. “I also wanted this for my best friend, J. Tucker Olmstead, who we lost in 2005 to cancer. This goal means so much to me because of that.”
The game itself held plenty of meaning for Wildcats coach Scott Young, whose team finished the year 16-1-1.
“For anyone who didn’t see this game, they’ll have to take my word for it, but I think the gap between East and West in soccer, especially in Class B, has closed a little bit,” he said.
The Wildcats, who were out-shot in the first half 5-4, came back to outshoot the Clippers 6-5 in the second and generated many solid scoring opportunities, several of which were thwarted by some deft blocks by Clippers junior A.J. Oliver (five saves).
“We had some excellent opportunities, especially in the second half, but we just couldn’t finish,” Young said. “We would have liked to work it more to the sideline and probably crossed it more since we’re pretty good in the air.”
Kingsbury made six saves for the Wildcats.