HERMON — Ellsworth High School junior midfielder Annika Firestone scored a goal from midfield last year.
She did it again Tuesday and it proved to be the game-winner as the resilient Ellsworth High School Eagles erased a 2-0 deficit by scoring three goals in a span of 13:03 in the second half to upset the previously undefeated Hermon High School Hawks 3-2.
Maddie Card and Katey Curtis scored three minutes apart early in the second half to tie it and Firestone scored with 22:57 left in regulation to supply the game-winner.
Ellsworth won its third straight to improve to 6-2 while Hermon fell to 7-1.
Claire Petersen and Jessica Allen scored 2:14 apart late in the first half to stake the Hawks to a 2-0 lead.
Firestone’s second goal of the season came with the wind at her back.
She gained custody of the ball on the left side of midfield and launched a high shot that squeezed through the outstretched fingers of Hermon freshman goalie Bryanne Crouse.
“I think I got the ball off a punt and I figured I’d try to volley it. And I guess it worked,” said Firestone.
Card scored four minutes into the second half when a Firestone corner kick glanced fortuitously off a Hawk head to the far post and she tucked the ball into the exposed net.
Curtis tied it when Crouse came out to the edge of the penalty area to clear a ball to a teammate and got caught out of position.
“I cut through and won the ball from the defender,” said Curtis. “Then I had an open shot and I made it, luckily.”
Curtis deposited it into the vacated net.
Petersen opened the scoring when Kaitlin Saulter gained possession of the ball in the penalty area and had her cross glance over to Petersen at the far post. Petersen slid it into the empty net.
Allen scored from 35 yards out when she accepted a Saulter pass and sailed a shot with the wind over the hands of goalkeeper Jessica Toothaker.
Trailing 3-2, Hermon had three good scoring chances late in the game but failed to convert.
Jessica Allen’s well-struck free kick from just outside the penalty area was parried away by Toothaker but the rebound fell right into the path of Saulter. However, Saulter’s low shot went right into the body of Toothaker, who was stretched out across the ground and hung on to the ball.
“I got lucky. [Saulter] kicked it within my reach. I caught it with my left hand and scooped it in,” said Toothaker.
“I thought I would [shoot] it to the [far] corner but I looked right at [Toothaker] and kicked it at her. I tried to chip it over her but it didn’t go my way. It happens. She was there to stop it so you’ve got to give her credit,” said Saulter.
In the waning moments, Gabby Bryant passed the ball ahead to Saulter and she crossed it quickly to the unmarked Mollie Roy who was racing into the penalty area. Roy fully extended her leg but chipped it over the crossbar.
Toothaker finished with six saves on 18 shots while Crouse had two on 10 shots.
“I’m elated with happiness,” said Ellsworth coach Katye Lacasse. “The girls were amazing. They believed. They had a desire to play better in the second half and fix the holes that we had.
“They saw where [Hermon’s] passes were going, they anticipated where they were going and got in there,” added Lacasse.
The Eagles were physical and did an exceptional job intercepting through balls and double-teaming the ball.
The dynamic Saulter was a constant threat but the Eagles kept her to the outside most of the time.
“Ellsworth has been underrated,” said Hermon coach Adam Leach. “I knew they were a good team from the beginning and I expected a good effort from them. They played us well. They match up well against us. They did the same thing last year. They came from behind to beat us 2-1 here.”