FALMOUTH — The Bangor girls soccer team knew it was facing a challenge in Saturday’s Class A state championship match as the Rams were dealing with a Scarborough club that had surrendered only one goal all season – on a penalty kick.
But coach Joe Johnson’s club didn’t count on an offensive outburst from the Red Storm against a Bangor defense that had shut down two of the state’s most prolific scorers in Waterville’s Jordan Pellerin and Allie Walton of Brunswick in its run to the state final.
Scarborough raced out to a 2-0 halftime lead in holding the Rams without a shot in the first 40 minutes and kept Bangor off the board in the second in winning its first Class A state title with a 3-0 win at Falmouth High School.
Coach Mike Farley’s team capped off a perfect season at 18-0-0 while Bangor, which was playing in its first state final since 2005, finished 15-1-2.
Scarborough won back to back championships in 1998 and 1999 in Class B.
The Red Storm, who have 11 seniors, controlled play from the outset and constantly had Bangor’s forwards pinned in the midfield and defensive end as the Rams struggled to get any counterattacks.
“I thought we would be able to match up with them with four in the back, we just tried to rely on what we’ve been doing all year long,” said Farley.
Those four, marking back Emily Dolman, midfielder Jessica Broadhurst and outside backs Heidi Bogdanovich and Nicolette Caron kept the Rams from getting any through-balls toward the penalty area while constantly beating Bangor’s attackers to 50-50 balls.
“We were pretty confident because we worked on it in practice, we made sure we would take and keep track of where everyone is,” said Tolman.
Scarborough broke through offensively near the midway point of the first half, with Sarah Little lofting a perfect corner kick into the box from the far side, and Emma Bagley tapping it past Bangor goalkeeper Mia Smith.
Even though they were down 1-0, the Rams were still very much in the hunt, but when Cortney Hughes scored on a rebound 1:37 before halftime, Bangor was in a perilous position.
“I think their experience helps them, they’re senior-laden, they worked hard to get here, they’ve only given up one goal all year,” said coach Joe Johnson, who felt his team came out nervous.
The Rams shook off the early-game jitters early in the second half and started to generate some attacks, and Kim Jordan broke in down the right flank in the first few minutes, but the ball was cleared away before she could move in toward the net.
“I didn’t (see her),” Jordan said. “I guess that’s what you get with a good defense. They come out of nowhere, and make good plays.”
Little scored the Red Storm’s final goal 6:11 into the second half, one-touching a cross from Tori Armishaw, who assisted on Hughes’ goal.
“They deserved it, they’re a really good team, they played really well,” Jordan said.
Motivation was also a factor for Scarborough, which was upset in the quarterfinals of the Western Maine playoffs last fall.
“It was enjoyable to go this far, we totally wanted to come back and go for it,” said Little.
Bangor was outshot 18-7 and didn’t get its first corner kick until the match was well in hand, as anytime the Rams got the ball past midfield, the Red Storm would be right there to send it back up, taking Bangor out of its possession-style game.
“We just couldn’t get anything going, pass to feet, get the ball on the ground,” Jordan said.
But the Rams were pleased with their regional success.
“We overcame a lot of things, beating Jordan Pellerin from Waterville and Allie Walton from Brunswick are two major things, and we got past them,” Jordan said.
With a junior-heavy roster, Johnson expects the Rams to contend on this level again in 2011.
“Hopefully we can get to this point again next year and that experience will help,” he said.
The experience of playing in another state championship game was a thrilling one for Jordan, even though the Rams came up short.
“I think everyone’s glad that we got to the states, it would’ve been fantastic if we had won,” she said.
Smith turned in a solid effort in goal for Bangor, making seven saves while Scarborough’s Jill Deering had to make just three.