HAMPDEN, Maine — Georges Valley has always fielded contending girls soccer teams over the last few years.
The only problem is, the Buccaneers of Thomaston have run into powers such as North Yarmouth Academy and Waynflete of Portland in the postseason.
That wasn’t the case this fall, as coach Darryl Townsend’s team won the school’s first Class C state crown with a 1-0 victory over a hardworking Orono club at the Weatherbee Complex Saturday night.
Georges Valley finished the season 16-0-2 and Orono 14-3-1.
Both teams mirrored each other as the Buccaneers and Red Riots both featured hard-working midfielders and skilled attackers. Orono had a 10-9 edge in shots in a defensive struggle during which both goalkeepers played extremely well.
“It was a wonderful game. It was well-contested, well played. Sometimes you win; unfortunately, we didn’t,” Orono coach Cid Dyjak said.
Scoring opportunities were few in the first half, but Georges Valley took advantage of its best one. Jessica Veilleux tapped home a Bethany Snow cross with 19:06 left before intermission.
Snow somehow had managed to keep the ball in play near the left flag and got a solid foot on it to the unmarked Veilleux, who was stationed in front of the net.
“The ball looked like it was going out, I sort of slid to get it with my left foot and Jessie got it in,” said Snow, one of only three seniors on a Buccaneer team that features eight freshmen.
Orono had a chance to get on the board just before Veilleux’s goal, but junior Alex Crocker’s shot from the right side of the penalty area skimmed off the left goalpost.
Crocker had another chance after being awarded a penalty kick 9:43 into the second half, but Bucs freshman goalkeeper Kennadi Grover (nine saves) made the stop to preserve the lead.
“She kicked it right to me,” said Grover, who fouled Crocker in front of the net on a breakaway.
That play was only the beginning for Grover, as the Riots had a golden opportunity for the equalizer with 14:05 remaining.
Ruth Mares was unmarked in front of the far post and took a cross from Meghan Curtis, but Grover made a point-blank save, diving to her right.
“She just puts her all into it. We’re all really proud of her, especially being a freshman,” said Snow.
Both teams worked hard and played aggressive, clean soccer, and the possession time was fairly even.
“As always, I’m totally impressed with my players. They played well, they played hard, they played fair,” Dyjak said.
Caleigh Paul, Lauren Dwyer and Laura Triandafillou shined on defense for Orono while Curtis and Crocker played solidly in the midfield.
While junior Elizabeth Fox (four saves) played well in goal for Orono, Grover showed maturity beyond her years in net for the Buccaneers.
“It feels so awesome, it’s the best feeling ever for the start of my freshman year,” said Grover. “I didn’t think we were going to get this far.”