HAMPDEN, Maine — Bangor High School sophomore forward Sarah Bragg netted the eventual game-winning goal 14 minutes into the second half and junior forward Allison Boulier added an insurance marker with nine minutes remaining in regulation to lift the Rams by Hampden Academy 3-1 in both teams’ regular-season soccer finale Tuesday night.
The Rams (13-1) now head into the postseason as the No. 1 seed in Eastern Maine Class A and will face Lawrence of Fairfield or Mt. Blue of Farmington in Tuesday’s quarterfinal round. The Broncos (9-3-2) will face Edward Little of Auburn as the No. 3 seed.
“It’s good to get a win down here; it always is,” Bangor coach Joe Johnson said. “It’s always a game about like this and it’s nice to come away with a victory.”
The majority of the first half was played in the middle third of the field with neither squad able to establish a stranglehold on the possession. Hampden broke the scoring drought at the 27-minute mark after neither team managed a shot on net in the opening 10 minutes.
Junior forward Kerry Quigley dribbled down the left flank and cut back along the edge of the 18-yard box before firing a right-footed shot that sailed over the head of Bangor sophomore goalkeeper Emily Gilmore to put the Broncos up 1-0.
The Rams tied it up with a little over four minutes remaining in the half. Junior forward Anna-Maria Dagher sent a cross toward the box that bounced untouched through the 6-yard box before skipping by Hampden senior netminder Sami Bowler to knot the score at one.
Bangor took more command of the possession in the second 40 minutes. The Rams outshot the Broncos 11-4 overall Tuesday night, with seven of those chances coming in the second half.
“I thought they played a good first half. It was a nice battle, a good game,” Hampden coach Gina DeSantis said. “We had our moments where we fell apart in the second half so it wasn’t our best showing but overall. I’m happy. We’re moving into playoffs and that’s what we’re focused on now.”
Bowler made a huge stop on a point-blank opportunity at the 26-minute mark to keep the score level before Bragg’s goal on the ensuing corner kick put the Rams up for good. Boulier’s kick was settled down by Bragg around the 6-yard box and then hammered into the bottom left corner to put Bangor up 2-1.
“Nothing really went through my mind [during the goal],” Bragg said. “I just saw it coming to me and kicked it in and I know I was really excited after.”
Boulier capitalized on a goalmouth scramble to cap the score at 3-1.
These two teams met in the Eastern Maine final last season, with Bangor coming out on top 4-2.
The Rams enter the postseason having won five straight, while the Broncos are unbeaten in nine of their last 11 games despite dropping their last two contests.
“In the playoffs, you have to score early and make people go away,” Johnson said. “If you let people hang around, anybody can win. This league is about as even as it’s been since I’ve been here so we’ll work hard, we’ll hopefully put a lot of pressure on people and take care of some opportunities that we get.”
“They’re in a good place. I think they’re excited — they’re happy,” DeSantis said. “It won’t be our first time there so they know what to expect. We have some experience going into playoffs now and they’re ready for it.”
Correction: In an earlier version of this story, a goal scorer for Bangor was listed as Katerina Dagher. It was Anna-Maria Dagher.