HAMPDEN — The Hampden Academy girls soccer team made a statement Tuesday night.
Senior midfielder Michaela Stephenson scored two impressive goals as the Broncos posted a comfortable 4-1 victory over a previously unbeaten Mt. Blue of Farmington.
Jordan Maxwell and Chelsea Kuzio had the other goals for Hampden Academy and Maxwell also had an assist while Abby Flanagan converted a penalty kick for the Cougars’ only goal following a Bronco handball in the penalty area.
Hampden Academy (3-1) dominated every aspect of the game on its artificial turf field, winning virtually all the 50-50 balls and pressuring the ball tenaciously to force Cougar turnovers.
HA senior goalie Julia Snyder was never seriously tested as she finished with one save on five shots.
The Broncos unleashed 27 shots on Cougar senior goalie Allison Brown, who wound up with 10 saves.
“We definitely did a very good job as a whole,” said Stephenson, who scored her seventh and eighth goals of the season. “Everyone was on top of their game tonight.”
“It was definitely hard playing on turf because they were right on our backs every time so it was hard for us to settle the ball and control it,” said Mt. Blue senior striker and tri-captain Marlie Mochamer. “But we’re really good on grass, I promise.”
“We had a tough time on the turf today. They won pretty much any ball played in any direction,” said Mt. Blue coach Fred Conlogue, whose team rallied to tie a strong Bangor team 3-3 Friday night.
Sophomore outside midfielder Maxwell opened the scoring with 23:46 left in the first half. It was her first goal of the season.
Stephenson’s in-swinging corner kick pinballed across the penalty area before landing on the foot of Maxwell in the top of the box.
“Monique [Kelmenson] passed it to me and I kicked it as hard as I could,” said Maxwell, whose shot sailed over the head of Brown and under the crossbar.
Ten minutes later, Stephenson made it 2-0 with a highlight-reel goal. She accepted a pass from Anna Michaud, took a quick touch and lofted a perfectly-placed 30-yard shot with her left foot over the helpless Brown.
“The defender gave me the space. I know it was getting really cluttered in the 18. So I figured if I had the space I’d take the shot,” said Stephenson, sister of former University of Maine All-America East second-team midfielder Kim Stephenson.
Kuzio nearly scored in the opening moments of the second half when she rattled a shot off the crossbar after Stephenson threaded a diagonal pass to her.
Moments later, Stephenson made it 3-0 when her in-swinging corner kick cleanly beat Brown high to the far corner.
“My corner kicks [from the goalkeeper's left] naturally bend in. There’s always a chance one will go in but I can’t say I planned it,” said Stephenson.
Flanagan gave the 2-1-1 Cougars a little life from the penalty spot with 14:56 left but Kuzio closed out the scoring with 54 seconds left when she took a pass from Maxwell, created space for herself at the top of the 18 and rocketed a shot into the top corner to Brown’s right. It was her sixth goal of the season.
“Those high shots are always tough for goalies unless you’re 6-foot-5,” said the 5-4 Brown. “There’s nothing I could do on most of those goals.”
“Those goals were unstoppable,” said Mochamer. “I don’t think any goalie could have stopped them.”
HA coach Jeff Ingalls felt his team played “very well” and credited his back line of sweeper Kylee Fogg, outside backs Whitney Moore and Ashley Danforth and center back Katie Cyr with turning in an “almost-perfect” performance.
Conlogue praised midfielder Avonlea Dwight for her solid play.