HAMPDEN — Emily Lane and Kara Singleton are among five Sacopee Valley seniors who have been playing soccer together since they were youngsters.
So when Kayla Brown bumped a pass over to Singleton outside the box in overtime Saturday afternoon, Lane knew what would happen next.
Singleton’s well-placed pass ahead sent Lane in alone and the senior striker sidestepped Fort Kent goalkeeper Carissa Pelletier and scored with 9:58 left in overtime to lift the Hawks of South Hiram to a 2-1 victory in the Class C girls soccer state championship game.
“I saw the pass even before it happened,” Lane said after watching Brown get the ball to Singleton. “Then it was just 1 v. 1 with the ‘keeper.”
Sacopee Valley (16-1-1) claims the state title only a year after posting a sub-.500 in Western Maine Class C play in 2009.
“To keep those two together, within good spacing, waiting for their opportunities, is what you have to do as a coach,” Hawks coach Kevin Murphy said of Lane and Singleton.
“They just key off each other so well,” he added.
Fort Kent, making its first-ever state game appearance, finishes the season at 14-3-1.
“Great year,” said first-year Fort Kent coach Robby Nadeau. “(We have) a lot of veterans, a lot of seniors and they showed up to play this season.”
Sacopee Valley outshot Fort Kent by a substantial 16-6 margin, including a 12-4 advantage in the last 45 minutes.
The Hawks, who didn’t generate many good scoring opportunities against the Warriors defense in the first half, controlled play after intermission. Led by the play of Lane, Singleton and Maeve Miller-Downey, Sacopee Valley kept the ball in the Warriors’ end.
Sacopee Valley nearly got on the board with 23:12 to play when Lane was sent in alone but was denied when Pelletier came out to cover the ball. Then, Brooke Totman’s shot from 15 yards out missed wide of the far post, to Pelletier’s left.
Singleton and Lane followed shortly thereafter with high-percentage shots, but couldn’t convert.
Finally, Lane popped a high pass into the box to Singleton, who got behind the defense. Pelletier came out to challenge, but the ball squirted past and Singleton deposited it into the goal with 12:31 left.
“They had quick feet, so I thought a chip over their heads would be a lot easier for Kara,” said Lane, who has signed to play at the University of Vermont next fall.
After a brief on-field huddle, Fort Kent demonstrated its resolve.
The Warriors finally managed their first shot of the second half when Alexis Desjardins’ free kick from 30 yards away missed just wide.
Desjardins got another opportunity with 8:56 to play after she was fouled by dynamic Hawks sweeper Catherine Murch. Desjardins capitalized, drilling a hard, 25-yard shot that beat Courtney Ross high to the far (left) side.
“These kids just stick together,” Nadeau said. “They don’t care where it comes from, it’s all from the heart and they play soccer the right way.”
Fort Kent had a chance to win it less than three minutes into overtime when freshman Lauren Doak got free deep in the penalty area. She put the ball on her left foot and hammered a point-blank shot that Ross (four saves) snared near the left post.
The Warriors had almost scored in the 16th minute of the first half when Doak got past two defenders, only to have her shot to Ross’ left ricochet off the post.
Murch was the glue of the Sacopee Valley defense and broke up numerous threats by the Warriors.
“By moving her back to the sweeper position, we went from a team that let up 25-30 goals a season to a team that let up (11),” Murphy said. “That is a tremendous turnaround.”
The aggressive Pelletier made seven saves for Fort Kent. She was supported in the back by standouts Sam Carapellucci, Becca Martin, Kate Morneault and Jessica Walker.
Michela Desjardins, Alexis Desjardins and Doak were the offensive catalysts.