BANGOR, Maine — Bangor High School sophomore striker Alli Boulier couldn’t have picked a better time for her first hat trick as a Ram.
Boulier scored a game-tying goal late in the first half; broke a 2-2 tie with her second goal with 12:44 remaining in regulation and added an insurance goal 1:58 later to give the Rams a hard-fought 4-2 victory over archrival Hampden Academy in their Eastern Maine Class A Wednesday night at Husson University’s Boucher Field.
Defending state champ and top seed Bangor, now 16-1, will take on Western Maine titlist Scarborough, 15-1-1, in Saturday’s state final for the third straight year at 12:30 p.m. at Hampden Academy.
Bangor beat Scarborough 4-0 a year ago after Scarborough had triumphed 3-0 in 2010.
The third-seeded Broncos concluded a 12-5 season. Three of the losses were to Bangor.
Senior striker Grace MacLean had a goal and three assists.
Boulier snapped the 2-2 deadlock with 12:44 remaining when she tracked down a long through ball by MacLean in the left side of the penalty area and directed it over the head of onrushing Bronco junior goalie Sami Bowler.
“I wasn’t sure if I should kick it or go around [Bowler],” explained Boulier. “She was far enough out that I thought I could clip it over her.”
She capped her hat trick and supplied a valuable insurance goal with MacLean again being the distributor.
MacLean sent a diagonal ball to the left flank and Boulier ran on to it before powering a left-footed shot from just inside the penalty area that ticked off Bowler’s hand and found the far corner for her 15th goal of the season. Bowler again charged way out of her net to try to cut down the angle.
“It was a great ball by Grace,” said Boulier. “I thought it would be better just to shoot. [Bowler] was at an angle and the side panel was open.”
“They were good goals,” said Bowler. “[Boulier] is a very good player. As a goalie, you’ve got to do what your instincts tell you to do. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.”
Hampden striker Laura Marquis staked the Broncos to a 1-0 lead against the run of play early in the first half with a neatly-placed shot to the far post off a breakaway created by a Naomi Shearer pass. It was her ninth goal of the year.
However, the talented Marquis sat out most of the second half with stress fractures in both legs that have hampered her all season.
Boulier tied it with 1:45 remaining in the half and MacLean scored her 33rd goal 1:25 later to give Bangor a 2-1 lead entering the intermission.
MacLean set up Boulier’s first goal by freeing herself enough in the left corner of the penalty area to send a low cross that deflected off Bowler’s hands and a Bronco teammate’s body, enabling Boulier to nudge it into the net.
Mary Butler set up MacLean’s goal with a long looping ball into the right side of the penalty area. Bowler and a Bronco defender confronted MacLean but the speedy Bangor striker was able to settle the ball and direct it past Bowler.
“Those two goals in the first half definitely won it for us,” said energetic Ram senior midfielder Jackie Veilleux.
“That got our confidence up,” said MacLean.
The dynamic Anna Michaud tied it for Hampden with 16:52 left when she corralled a loose ball and cannoned a rising 30-yard strike past Ram sophomore goalie Cordelia Stewart for her 10th goal.
Stewart finished with three saves on 15 shots for Bangor while Bowler made seven on 22 shots before senior Kayla Clewley, who has seen limited duty due to a concussion, came on to finish up over the final 10:46.
Bangor had the better of the play but the Broncos defended effectively and launched a number of dangerous counter attacks with long balls out of the back that skipped on the wet artificial turf.
“Our girls played great,” said an emotional Gina De Santis, HA’s second-year coach. “I couldn’t have asked for a better showing from them.”
Juniors Kayla Gagner and Kristi Reichel anchored HA’s back line with stellar efforts while senior Denae Johnson and junior Anna Morris were standouts in the back for the Rams.
Bangor coach Joe Johnson said it didn’t surprise him that the Broncos gave his team a battle.
“[De Santis] does a great job and they were peaking at the right time,” said Johnson.