BANGOR — Cold temperatures and biting winds did not slow down the Bangor offense Saturday afternoon as the top-seeded Rams scored four second-half goals to beat the No. 4 Waterville Panthers 5-0 in an Eastern Maine Class A girls semifinal.
Bangor moves on to face Brunswick for the Eastern Maine title Wednesday at the Bangor High field.
“It’s a huge win to be able to come out of here and get five goal on Waterville,” Bangor coach Joe Jonson said. “They’ve been a tight team for the last couple of years around here and we played a pretty good game especially in the second half.”
Waterville applied periods of extended pressure on the Rams in the first half, using quick passes and a controlled pace to keep possession but could not crack Bangor’s back line of defenders.
“Realistically we had to play an essentially flawless game to beat them and I think Bangor can play a game where they make a few mistakes and beat us,” Waterville coach Ian Wilson said. “Anytime you have to ask kids to play essentially flawless it doesn’t always work out that way, it’s the nature of the game.”
Sophomore midfielder Jordan Seekins scored Bangor’s first goal five minutes into the first half on a throw-in from deep in Waterville’s defensive zone as sophomore defender Tiffany Gray, credited with the assist, heaved the ball into the box. Seekins then one-timed it to the right of Waterville goalie Morgan Tortorella with a soft touch into the back of the net.
“It is a team effort and everyone is doing really well,” Gray said. “We want it really badly and we’re working together to get it.”
Bangor’s defense used the lead to its advantage as the Rams packed in and turned away a strong Waterville attack as both teams exchanged chances.
“I don’t want to say that they [Bangor defenders] have been a secret out there all season but they’re dynamite,” Johnson said. “They’re really just some strong athletes who are really fast on the outside.”
The Rams headed into halftime with a 1-0 lead.
“It’s a very tough defense to crack,” Wilson said. “Especially when they make up their mind to be tough.”
Less than two minutes into the second half Bangor extended its lead to 2-0 as senior forward Ashley Robinson buried a ball that bounced around in the box off of multiple defenders and blasted it into the upper right corner.
Robinson finished with two goals.
“My teammates played some great balls to me,” Robinson said. “We worked together and passed the ball around and I got some shots off.”
The Rams’ defense tightened up after the second goal as they swarmed the ball carrier and denied the Panthers opportunities in the box.
“We just tried to stay tight as a unit and always get the ball first and getting all the headers,” junior defender Denae Johnson said. “We just try to work together and have each others backs every time.”
Waterville pushed back but was unable to break onto the board as the game ended.
“I’m proud of how our kids played, especially in the first half,” Wilson said. “Bangor is a powerful team.”
Junior forward Grace Maclean scored two goals and pitched in an assist for Bangor and senior midfielder Hanna Colpritt contributed an assist.
Mia Smith and Meri Wicks combined to make two saves on five shots for 16-0 Bangor. Morgan Tortorella made five saves on 10 shots for 11-4-1 Waterville.
The Rams now look ahead to a tough matchup for the Eastern Maine crown.
“We have to do a lot of the same,” Johnson said. “We need to be the first to the ball and put a lot of pressure on and finish our opportunities.”