BANGOR — Even confronting the No. 2 goal scorer in Maine girls soccer history, 12 yards away, Mia Smith knew the odds could have been worse.
Bangor High School’s junior goalkeeper wasn’t daunted by the magnitude of the moment as Jordan Pellerin prepared to take Waterville’s fifth and decisive overtime penalty kick.
Smith made a diving left hand save on Pellerin’s shot, which was headed low and inside the left goalpost, to give the Rams a 2-1 Eastern Maine Class A girls soccer semifinal victory.
“I just played her foot. Honestly, I was like, ‘I’m just doing to do it,'” Smith said after the second-seeded Rams avenged last year’s semifinal loss to the No. 3 Panthers.
“It’s like a 50-50 chance,” said Smith, who had been unable to stop Waterville’s previous two PKs, both of which went to her left.
“I’ve definitely been on the other side of it before. I think that might have been the first time I’ve won in penalty kicks. I’m just happy I performed well.”
Coach Joe Johnson’s Bangor team (14-0-2) advances to Wednesday’s regional title game at No. 1 Brunswick, a 3-0 winner over Hampden Academy in Saturday’s other semifinal.
Waterville, which came up short in all three meetings with Bangor this fall, finished at 12-3-1.
The Rams, who rallied to tie the game with 2:44 remaining in the second half, finally won in the shootout. Kim Jordan, who scored the goal in regulation, shot wide right on Bangor’s initial PK.
Ashley Robinson, Grace Maclean, Hanna Colpritt and Erin Boulier all converted for the Rams.
“I definitely wanted to take advantage of the chance and finish it,” said Boulier, a junior back. “We worked on (PKs) last practice, because we knew it might come down to it, so we were prepared.”
Goalkeeper Kylee Gardiner gave Waterville the edge, scoring on the first try, before Morgan Pellerin’s low shot was blocked by Smith. Hannah Jabar and Abigail Webster also scored.
Finally, it came down to Jordan Pellerin, who scored 39 goals this season and 171 in her career — second only to the 178 goals scored by former Lee Academy star Shelby Pickering.
“Honestly, it was one of the best offensive players with one of the best ‘keepers in the state,” Johnson said.
“I thought it was in until Mia stuck her hand up,” he added.
Waterville played well in the second half and broke a scoreless tie with 24:31 left. Morgan Pellerin’s corner kick was headed out to Jordan Pellerin 15 yards out. She fired a high shot into the upper corner to Smith’s left.
Bangor finally caught a break when a Waterville player was called for “obstruction” on a run into the box by Jordan.
The senior popped up and quickly put the ball in play, lining a hard shot that grazed the hip of a defender and found the net high to Gardiner’s left.
“We just play our hearts out. We just never give up,” said Jordan, whose play energized the Rams during overtime.
Johnson credited Jordan for playing the ball before the Waterville defense could get set for the indirect kick.
“I didn’t know that we’d get that chance, but Kimmy was real smart and hit it real quick,” he said. “A lot of people had their backs to the goal.”
The teams played through two scoreless, 15-minute overtimes, but Wilson questioned the call that helped get the Rams on the board.
“I thought we carried play a lot of the day today and it’s awfully tough to swallow that kind of call to decide a playoff game,” Wilson said.
Bangor outshot Waterville 14-12, managing seven shots on goal to five for the Panthers.
The Rams applied plenty of pressure during the last 30 minutes of the first half. Their best scoring opportunity came with 2:14 remaining.
Maclean made a cross from the left corner in front of the goal, where Jordan one-timed a solid shot on goal. Gardiner (six saves) knocked down that shot and then punched a rebound attempt off the line to maintain the scoreless tie.
Jordan Pellerin had almost put Waterville in front nine minutes into the second half. She worked a nice passing sequence with Jayme Saulter, before Webster found Pellerin on the right side of the box.
Pellerin drilled a hard shot that sailed just over the crossbar.
Smith finished with four saves.