BANGOR — A good recipe for championship success in soccer is typically a stingy defense coupled with an efficient offense, and the Bangor girls used both of those to claim their first Eastern Maine Class A championship since 2005.
Now, the Rams will be looking to make history as they gun for the first gold ball in program history when they tangle with Scarborough in today’s state championship match at Falmouth High School at 3:30 p.m.
This promises to be a defensive struggle, as the Rams and Red Storm feature two of the top back lines in the state.
“I think they’re a lot like us, I think it’ll be a pretty even match,” said senior forward Kim Jordan during a break in practice at Husson University on Friday. “We played them in the preseason so we know how good they are.”
The Rams’ last appearance in a state final came in 2005, when they lost 1-0 to Gorham.
Coach Joe Johnson’s club has only given up seven goals all year, including just two in the postseason which came off the feet of two of the state’s top offensive players in Brunswick’s Allie Walton in the Eastern Maine final and Jordan Pellerin of Waterville in the semifinals, while Scarborough has surrendered just one goal during its run to its first state-title appearance in Class A.
The Red Storm won back-to-back Class B state championships in 1998-99.
Bangor has experienced quite a gold ball drought in schoolgirl sports, as a girls team hasn’t brought a state title back to the Queen City since the 1981-82 basketball team, and after coming up just shy in softball last spring, Jordan and classmate Sadie Redman are even more motivated.
“That would be so great, it’s really exciting just to be at the state game, just to bring that back would be the icing on the cake,” Jordan said.
The Rams’ defense was particularly stingy against Brunswick on Wednesday, with sophomore Denae Johnson keeping the dynamic Walton in check, while Tiffany Gray, Redman, Erin Boulier, Liz Hintz and Emily Smith provided depth in the back.
They will be looking to keep pressure off goalkeeper Mia Smith, who made some grade-A saves against Brunswick and did a nice job of cutting off angles on corner kicks.
The Rams also boast a strong offensive attack, led by Jordan, Grace Maclean and Ashley Robinson, while Jade Baumrind, Shannon Broznya, Hanna Colpritt and Libby Huber add to the attack.
While both teams appear to be even on paper, the Rams may have an edge in quickness, particularly with two All-State hurdlers in Maclean and Johnson.
“We’re fast but I’m sure they’re fast too, they have to be if they made it to states,” said Redman.
Bangor also boasts one of the state’s best offensive attacks, as the Rams have racked up 77 goals during the regular season and playoffs, and they’ll be challenged against a stiff Red Storm defense.
“We’re just going to have to crash the net and take as many shots as we can,” Jordan said.
Falmouth’s artificial turf may also benefit the Rams’ possession style and enable them to use their quickness.
“I’d say we play pretty well on the turf, we do it every year because of Hampden, so I think we can play well with them on the turf, even though they play on it more,” Jordan said.
Scarborough’s home field has artificial turf.
All of Scarborough’s games have been tight during the postseason, as it has two one-goal victories, including a 1-0 shutout of Thornton Academy in the Western Maine final.