HAMPDEN, Maine — It was only fitting that Hampden Academy senior midfielder Anna Michaud scored the game-winning goal in Tuesday night’s 1-0 Eastern Maine Class A girls soccer victory over Mt. Blue of Farmington.
The dynamic Michaud controlled the midfield and created several scoring chances for herself and her teammates throughout the game.
She attempted 11 of Hampden Academy’s 36 shots on the rainy, wind-swept field and her highlight-reel goal midway through the second half supplied the Broncos with their fifth win against one loss.
Mt. Blue, which attempted 12 shots, fell to 3-2-1.
The Broncos also received three clutch second-half saves from junior goalkeeper Sami Bowler.
The Broncos had the better of the play on the artificial turf but couldn’t parlay their dominance into a goal until Michaud broke through.
She corralled the ball at midfield and made a scintillating run across the field from left to right.
Michaud used her speed to create a shooting lane for herself and teed up the ball from 25 yards out before blistering a rising shot over the outstretched hands of goalkeeper Thia Bridges.
“I was far out so I tried to get it up over the goalie and, luckily, that’s what happened this time,” said Michaud who had hit the far post with a low shot earlier in the half.
“Anna made a huge difference for them. We just couldn’t contain her in the middle of the field,” said Mt. Blue coach Fred Conlogue.
A few minutes before Michaud scored, Kristen Brown’s lofted long-range attempt was parried off the crossbar by Bowler.
After Michaud scored, Chelsea Newhall and Mackenzie Conlogue tested Bowler in the game’s waning moments.
Newhall drove a well-placed free kick from just outside the penalty area that Bowler was able to deflect off the crossbar with her hands.
“It looked like it was going right in the net,” said Newhall.
Conlogue was able to free herself down the right flank and unleash a low 20-yard shot that skipped on the wet turf and was labeled for the far corner.
But Bowler dove to her right and turned it around the far post.
“It was close. She just barely got it,” said senior striker Conlogue. “I probably could have taken another touch and gotten a better shot. But I didn’t know how much time was left.”
Bowler finished with six saves while Bridges made five stops on 17 shots and Gabby Foy finished with seven saves on 19 shots.
Michaud said her team played well.
“We’ve worked a lot on keeping our shape and passing the ball and it really showed tonight,” said Michaud. “We worked really hard as a team. We had solid defense and good movement off the ball.”
The tenacious Broncos used their superior speed to win most of the 50-50 balls but the Cougars did a nice job getting numbers behind the ball and Conlogue rotated in several players to keep his players fresh.
“We’ve been working in practice on being more aggressive,” said Hampden Academy coach Gina DeSantis whose team had a 19-1 advantage in shot attempts in the first half when it had the wind and still created 17 against the wind in the second half.
Junior center back Naomi Shearer and junior sweeper Kristi Reichel headlined the Broncos’ solid defensive effort.
Midfielder Newhall, playing in her first game after missing two weeks with a concussion, turned in an exceptional performance for Mt. Blue as did center back Jaycee Mullen.
“We played well enough to win,” said Fred Conlogue. “I was surprised we didn’t get more offensive opportunities in the second half when we had the wind.”
JV: Mt. Blue 1-0