HAMPDEN, Maine — Hampden Academy junior goalkeeper Julia Snyder did everything but stand on her head and dance against Bangor Tuesday night, making some incredible saves.
Snyder kept the high-powered Rams at bay, shutting them out for 72 minutes, until freshman Grace Maclean trickled a loose ball home late in the second half as Bangor earned a hard-fought 1-0 soccer victory.
“She did a great job, she really kept them in the game, she’s really athletic,” Bangor senior Megan Doucette said of Snyder, who had 19 saves on 32 shots.
Coach Joe Johnson’s club caps a 12-1-1 regular season and will likely generate enough Heal Points to finish with the No. 2 seed in Class A.
Bangor entered play Tuesday just behind Waterville in third place. Waterville beat winless Skowhegan 5-1 earlier in the afternoon.
Hampden, which needed a win and some help to leapfrog into the postseason, finishes 6-7-1.
The Rams went into attack mode right from the outset, as their midfielders and strikers kept the pressure on Hampden’s back line and Snyder.
Snyder made several point-blank stops in the first half as Bangor had an 18-2 edge in shots.
“She played a whale of a game back there,” Johnson said. “We had some good looks at her, some good shots, but she made some great plays.”
Bangor finally got to Snyder with 8:49 remaining in regulation. Kim Jordan drew Snyder out of the net by sending the ball toward the near post from the right corner, and an unmarked Maclean pounced on the loose ball and chipped it into the far post.
“Kimmy finally got around the corner a little bit and pulled the goalie away and it bounced around and Grace was there to finish it, thankfully,” said Johnson.
Hampden had a golden opportunity for the equalizer with 3:24 left, as the Broncos were awarded an indirect kick after an obstruction call just outside the penalty area.
After teammate Sarah Lamberton tapped the ball, Broncos striker Michaela Stephenson fired a hard shot that sailed just over the right side of the goal.
Even though his club was outshot 32-4, Broncos coach Jeff Ingalls was beaming about the effort of his back line and Snyder.
“She had intuitive saves. She made some spectacular saves, then a squibber goes in. It’s just the dynamics of the game,” he said. “But I was pretty pleased. I thought defensively we did a god job anyway.”
Bangor, which had a decisive edge in possession and quickness, certainly wasn’t looking past an improved Hampden team the Rams beat 6-2 earlier this fall.
“They always play hard against us, they’re a great team. They played really well tonight,” Doucette said.
Hampden packed its midfielders and strikers back to try and slow the Rams’ attack, while Bangor’s defense did an exceptional job of marking the dangerous Stephenson, who drew two red shirts every time she touched the ball.
“Our defense is incredible, they’re amazing,” Doucette said. “We’re great all around but really our defense, they do so much for us.”
Bangor certainly wasn’t thinking about Heal Points or what Waterville was doing in its game.
“If we get that No. 2, that’s great. If not, then hey, we’re still in it,” said Doucette. “Anything’s possible at this point.”
Mia Smith had to make just one stop for Bangor.