HAMPDEN, Maine — Winning the first Class D state soccer championship in program history was a dream come true for the Southern Aroostook girls in 2008.
But only one word sums up the 2009 version of the Warriors of Dyer Brook: Perfection.
Southern Aroostook capped off the first unblemished season in its program’s history Saturday as Janel Rockwell scored two second-half goals, both coming off Evangeline Goodall assists, for a 2-0 state-final victory over Greenville at the Weatherbee Complex.
Coach Holly Vining’s club polished off an 18-0 campaign while the Lakers, who made it to the state final for the second year in a row, finish 12-3.
So, how does it feel the second time around?
“It’s unreal, it’s the most phenomenal feeling senior year to have a perfect season and just end it with the people that I love the most,” said forward Rochelle Nadeau, one of six seniors on the squad.
The Warriors came out a little slow in the first half, and even though they controlled play and won virtually every 50-50 ball, they were a bit tentative in attacking the net.
Greenville’s back line had a little bit to do with that, as the Lakers frustrated Southern Aroostook at times by clearing the ball up to the midfield quickly.
“I had told the girls not to get frustrated and to keep pounding the ball down there, try and take as many shots as possible,” Vining said. “The first half I think they kind of forgot that and I reminded them of that at halftime and they came out strong.”
Did they ever, as junior Rockwell, one of two sets of sisters on the team, put the Warriors on the board just 3:01 after halftime.
Evangeline Goodall, who was unmarked on the left flank, sent a high cross to Rockwell, who was positioned in front of the goal, and Rockwell one-touched the ball inside the near goalpost.
“I guess I was just in the right [place] at the right time,” Rockwell said. “Evangeline crossed it in to me and I was just right there.”
That was exactly the case with 30:05 to play, except this time, Rockwell used her head to beat Greenville goalkeeper Sidney Richardson to the near post.
The Warriors’ defense took over from there as their size and quickness thwarted the smaller Lakers and Southern Aroostook controlled the midfield while outshooting the Lakers 15-6, which was quite the turnaround from the first 40 minutes.
“Coach told us in the beginning that’s what they were going to do and at halftime we just wanted it so bad,” Nadeau said.
Kaitlyn Sommers and Lauren McGary were among the Warriors who shined defensively, and they had Greenville’s top offensive weapons, Gretel Breton and McKenna Peat, marked tightly.
McGary, a senior sweeper who broke a bone in her left foot six weeks ago, hasn’t missed a single game.
“It was a struggle, but I’ve been doing it the entire tournament and I just said today, I didn’t care I’m putting the pain behind me and I’m playing today,” said McGary.
Emily Cummings was also solid in goal, coming up with two saves in collecting her third shutout in four postseason games.
“Em had a great game. When we needed her she was there,” Vining said.
Richardson had four saves while Saige Weeks turned in a fine effort in the midfield and on defense for Greenville.