The Bangor High School girls soccer team is on a mission and the first part of that mission was a rousing success.
The Rams earned the top seed in Eastern Maine Class A by going 14-0 and now have their sights set on a playoff run that will end with their first-ever state championship.
They lost to Scarborough 3-0 in last year’s state final and that has served as motivation.
Bangor, which is 26-0-2 in regular-season play the last two years, has outscored its opponents 80-8 and its list of wins include a 5-1 win at Brunswick, which is 13-1, and two victories over Waterville, which is 10-3-1.
But the Rams aren’t going to sit on their laurels.
They will host the winner of Saturday’s preliminary game between No. 9 Cony of Augusta (8-6) and No. 8 Lawrence of Fairfield (7-6-1) in the quarterfinals on Tuesday.
“Having an undefeated season gives us confidence going into the playoffs, but we have to make sure we don’t get cocky because every game is a new game,” said Bangor senior midfielder Hanna Colpritt. “Soccer is a weird sport. One team can dominate and the other team gets a breakaway and wins the game.”
The dynamic one-two punch of senior striker Ashley Robinson and junior striker Grace Maclean received a lot of publicity, as well they should. Robinson has 22 goals and 10 assists and Maclean has 17 goals and 22 assists.
Maclean has generated 70 shots on goal and Robinson has produced 67.
But the fact Bangor has surrendered just eight goals in 14 games is equally noteworthy.
And Robinson said going against their four backs in practice “helps Grace and me.”
“When we practice, we like to say we’re going up against the best defenders in the state,” said Robinson. “It’s really hard competition in practice. It pays off when we play good teams.”
The back four consists of senior center backs Erin Boulier and Liz Hintz and outside backs Denae Johnson, a junior, and Tiffany Gray, a sophomore.
“It’s hard to score against us with their speed, strength and overall play,” said Bangor coach Joe Johnson.
Boulier and Hintz are dependable veterans and great leaders, according to Johnson, while Johnson and Gray are “strong, athletic and quick.”
No one appreciates backs more than the goalkeepers.
“We have been working on our defensive organization,” said Ram senior goalie Mia Smith. “It was at a really high level before, but now we’ve amped it up. We spend more practice time on it. It’s great. We’re more organized.”
Hintz added, “We back each other up (on defense) and try as hard as we can to keep (goals) out. I think we’ve done a pretty good job.”
The Rams have received important supplemental scoring from their midfield.
Colpritt has seven goals, including three in the last two games, and five assists; Jordan Seekins has three goals and seven assists, Libby Huber has contributed two goals and five assists and Jade Baumrind has chipped in with three goals and two assists.
They have also received bench production in the midfield from Ally Vanidestine (3 & 2), Anna Morris (2 & 1) and Emily Smith (1 & 0).
“We have a solid rotation in the midfield,” said Johnson.
June Candland, a striker, has contributed two goals.
The Rams are a possession-oriented team and Baumrind said, “We have worked a lot on getting the ball through every section of the field. We try to keep possession and keep the ball on the ground. We’ve been working very well together.”
Boulier added, “We need to keep the ball on the ground and pass around people.”
Smith, who has been strong in goal, said another key for them has been their communication and camaraderie.
“We communicate on and off the field,” said Smith. “We all have classes together and we’ve played soccer together forever.”
Johnson said another subtle component in their success has been the play of the younger players.
“When they’ve gone in, there hasn’t been much of a dropoff and that bodes well for the next few years,” said Johnson, who also noted that his players have worked “very hard” beginning in (summer soccer) in June to reach this point.