BANGOR, Maine — As the Brunswick boys soccer team prepared for one more restart during the second overtime of Wednesday evening’s Eastern Maine Class A final, Scott Jarosz simply went to his designated spot — and waited for the ball to come to him.
When it finally did, after a long free kick and several deflections, Jarosz redirected the ball into the net with 5:56 remaining to lift the second-seeded Dragons to a 2-1 victory over top-ranked and previously undefeated Bangor.
“I was exactly where was I supposed to be, on the back post in front of the keeper,” said Jarosz. “The ball landed straight at my feet and I just volleyed it home.”
And Bangor trailed for the first — and only — time this season.
“In the second overtime we were happy with the way the play was going,” said Bangor coach David Patterson, “but we always knew they were going to be dangerous on free kicks and throw-ins and re-starts and that proved to be the case.”
The win gave Brunswick (15-1-1) its second regional title in the last three years, and advances coach Peter Gardner’s club to Saturday’s state final at Scarborough High School.
Bangor, bidding for its third EM crown in the last four years, ended its season at 16-1.
The game-winning play began with a free kick by Brunswick goalie Pete Morrell from beyond midfield to inside the 18-yard line on the offensive end.
“I was just trying to throw it in the mixer,” said Morrell, “and luckily we were able to pop one in and win the game.”
The Dragons’ Justin Rosner headed Morrell’s kick toward the net, and the ball remained loose until Mitchell Black headed the ball to Jarosz.
“On the initial [header Rosner] floated a high one up around the 6 so I went to jump up and over to grab it and it just died quicker than I thought,” said Bangor goalie Bud Angst. “The ball scrambled around and [Jarosz] found it 3 yards outside the post.”
Bangor was coming off some of its strongest sustained play of the match during the early stages of overtime.
“It’s our home field, and we weren’t going to hang around and let something happen,” said Patterson. “We wanted to go get the game. In the first overtime we were all over them and we had some great chances but we couldn’t put one in.”
The Rams generated four corner kicks during the first 15-minute extra period as well as several threatening shots, but the Rams couldn’t get the ball past Morrell.
“We came out at the end of the second half and overtime extremely strong,” said Bangor senior midfielder Cody Cormier. “I felt like we were doing what we needed to do to get a goal. We had some great opportunities, but sometimes it doesn’t go your way.”
Bangor, which edged Brunswick on penalty kicks on Oct. 23 in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A championship match, took a 1-0 lead just 7:10 into the regional final when 6-foot-6-inch sweeper Clark Noonan headed in a throw-in from the left sideline by teammate Adam King.
Brunswick tied the match on a restart 7:39 into the second half. Garrett Brann sent a long free kick from beyond midfield into the penalty area, where Zach McMillan gained control and lined a shot from the right side inside the far post.
“These kids just kind of gutted it out,” said Gardner, whose team was appearing in the Eastern Maine final for the fifth consecutive year. “We weathered their storm, and the restarts gave us an opportunity.”
Bangor outshot Brunswick 12-9. Morrell and Angst each made five saves.
“Bangor kept coming and coming, they’re an amazing side,” said Jarosz. “We dealt with it, sometimes we got a bit lucky, but we played our hearts out and left everything out on the pitch.”