HAMPDEN, Maine — The Bangor High School girls soccer team extended its winning streak to 23 games Thursday night, receiving three goals from senior striker Grace MacLean and a strange pivotal goal from Emily Smith late in the first half en route to a 6-1 win over Hampden Academy.
Defending state Class A champ Bangor is now 5-0 while the Broncos fell to 4-1.
MacLean staked Bangor to a 2-0 lead with goals 5:27 apart in the first half and, after Laura Marquis cut the lead in half, the Rams scored an important fluke goal with just 5:09 left in the half when Emily Smith’s shoulder-high throw-in was caught by goalkeeper Sami Bowler but her momentum carried her over the goal line.
Jacqueline Veilleux enabled the Rams to take control of the game when she scored just 14 seconds into the second half.
MacLean and Libby Huber capped the scoring.
The speedy MacLean opened the scoring with 26:25 left in the first half when her low driven corner kick glanced off Bowler and snaked inside the near post.
“I was just trying to get it in front of the six [goal area] and, hopefully, someone could get their foot on it,” said MacLean.
She made it 2-0 when she was able to outrace a defender to Smith’s long ball and tap it past the onrushing Bowler.
“The goalie came out to confront me and I just chipped it up over her,” said MacLean.
Marquis ripped a 14-yarder past helpless Bangor goalkeeper Kristen Higgins after Jordan Maxwell’s cross from the right flank glanced off the goalie’s hands and into the path of Marquis.
Smith’s throw-in goal re-established the two-goal cushion after MacLean and Hampden Academy’s Kerry Quigley had each hit the crossbar.
“It was crazy. I didn’t expect to score,” said Smith. “I was just trying to cross it to my teammates.”
“I have no idea what happened on that one,” said Bowler. “I had it. I didn’t think it was a goal but the referee said it was a goal.”
“That goal was a momentum-changer,” said Bangor coach Joe Johnson.
Veilleux scored when she broke in alone on Bowler after receiving a MacLean pass and knocked her own rebound past Bowler, who had come out and smothered the initial shot.
“My first shot went off her hands and then it came back to me and went in off my knee. I was lucky,” said Veilleux.
MacLean made it 5-1 with a side volley off a Jordan Seekins cross and Huber scored with a powerful header off a Seekins corner.
Higgins finished with three saves on 10 shots in the first half before Chandler Stairs made five stops on eight shots in the second half.
Bowler finished with 10 saves on 29 shots before Eliza Eastman came on late and faced one shot without a save.
“It was a good win,” said Johnson. “It’s nice to come down here and play well.”
“We did real well as a team,” said MacLean. “We communicated pretty well. It was fun. It was a good game on the [artificial] turf. They’re a tough opponent.”
“We played quickly and we played well,” said left back Smith.
Bowler said she and her mates gave it their best.
“Bangor’s a tough team. MacLean is a very good player. They have a lot of good players,” said Bowler. “We have some good players, too, but they came out on top this time.”
Veilleux and MacLean turned in exceptional performances for Bangor along with midfielder Denae Johnson and center backs Anna-Maria Dagher and Anna Morris.
Center midfielders Anna Michaud and Erin Jeter and sweeper Kristi Reichel played well for the Broncos.