BANGOR — Calvary Chapel Christian dominated the first 40 minutes of Wednesday’s Eastern Maine Class D boys soccer championship game.
Third-seeded Bangor Christian conceded that fact, but vowed not to let it continue.
The playoff-tested Patriots remained patient, turned up their intensity and tallied two second-half goals to earn a 2-0 victory over the No. 1 Sabers of Orrington at the University College of Bangor field.
“We didn’t make any adjustments, but we acknowledged that we were getting beaten to the ball extremely bad and they were outplaying us that first half,” said senior sweeper Nate Kutz, a tireless force on the BC defense. “If we wanted to win this game, we couldn’t let that happen (in the second half).”
Coach Aaron Wilcox’s Patriots (15-1-1) will defend their state crown against Western Maine champion Richmond (11-3-2) Saturday at a site and time to be determined.
Bangor Christian, which was outshot 10-2 in the first half, carried the play after intermission behind its controlled passing game.
The momentum swung squarely in their favor with 15:36 left after the Patriots fired two shots from inside the box that were blocked.
Zach Sirois pounced on the loose ball during the ensuing scramble and fired a shot from 12 yards out. It was tipped by Sabers goalkeeper Devon Warman and ticked softly off the left post.
Bangor Christian freshman Zac Palmeter was there to tap it in.
“I was just running to the goal to get the ball,” Palmeter said. “It was like right on the line. It was really close.”
The goal energized the Patriots, who had a 13-8 edge in second-half shots. They put the game out of reach with 5:19 remaining when Brad Wilcox took a Ben Groski pass and fired a left-footed shot that beat Warman (three saves) to his left.
“We said, OK, we really need to step it up to a certain level that we know we can play at,” Brad Wilcox said.
Poise and tenacity on the back end kept Bangor Christian in the game early. Calvary Chapel Christian kept the pressure on behind the skill and speed of Stephen Berenyi, Derek Russell and Matt Goodness.
Using a boot-and-run style, coach Mike Warman’s Sabers had four or five glowing scoring opportunities but failed to capitalize.
“We expended so much energy putting so much pressure on them and we dominated the first half, but we didn’t break the can open,” coach Warman said.
Russell had the first big chance, from just inside the 18, 9 1/2 minutes into the game, but BC ‘keeper Tyler Alexander (eight saves) raced out to block the shot.
Twelve minutes later, Goodness had a shot from 12 yards, but Alexander again challenged and broke up the play.
“I like to come out and cut off the angle, beat them to the ball,” Alexander said.
“I was very fortunate on some of them. I closed my eyes a few times,” he admitted.
Two minutes later, Berenyi sent Goodness in all alone. His shot went over the onrushing Alexander — and the crossbar. Alexander made a diving save on another Goodness shot late in the half.
“They dominated the first half,” coach Wilcox said.
“We got some breaks and had some big plays defensively by the ‘keeper, and our sweeper has saved us a lot this year,” he added.
Backs Kutz, Aaron Guimond, Chris Parent (No. 32) and Matt Swanson helped Alexander shut out the high-powered Calvary Chapel offense.
The Sabers got outstanding defense from Tyler Lacadie, Jeremy Miller, Dominique Veilleux and Jeremy Miller.
Calvary Chapel outshot BC 18-15.