HAMPDEN, Maine — The top-seeded Hampden Academy Broncos dominated possession throughout and rode an early first-half goal by senior midfielder Filip Bilek to earn a 1-0 win over No. 8 Mt. Blue High School of Farmington in an Eastern Maine Class A boys soccer quarterfinal Wednesday night.
The goal came less than five minutes after a cross from the left corner by junior midfielder Noah Parker struck a defender in the box and drew Cougars junior goaltender Colton Lawrence out of position. Bilek was there to clean it up at the far post for the lone tally of the night to send the Broncos (14-1) into a Saturday semifinal matchup against Mount Ararat of Topsham.
Hampden set the tone early with solid ball control from the opening kick and a flurry of scoring chances in the first five minutes of play.
“We really thought if we could come out and score a [quick goal] and maybe keep the offensive pressure on them — maybe even get a second goal on them in that first 10 minutes — we thought that we would get the advantage,” Hampden head coach Josh Stevens said. “For us, that’s important to get on top of teams. We haven’t lost a game that we’ve been leading yet and we’re trying to keep that streak alive.”
“I thought we came out and gave up an early goal and did well to ward off other attempts and other threats that they had,” Mt. Blue head coach Joel Smith said. “I felt Colton Lawrence did an outstanding job in the net. I felt like we pressured them the whole game; we battled. They had opportunities, they capitalized on that one and our looks weren’t as clean and we didn’t capitalize.”
Hampden senior netminder Isaiah Bess only had to make one save to earn his eighth shutout of the season. The Cougars (7-9), who defeated Oxford Hills in the prelim game, had a lack of time on the ball that fueled a huge shot disparity. The Broncos outshot Mt. Blue 31-4, including a 19-1 advantage in shots on goal.
Lawrence kept the Cougars in it with 18 saves.
Smith said he was pleased with his team’s performance and that they’ve come a long way since the start of the season.
“We improved. I felt like we got stronger as the season went on,” he said. “Defensively, at the beginning of the season, we were not strong and I felt like tonight we took a pretty offensively strong team — a team that is technical and has the ability to do some nice things — and I felt like we limited what they were able to do.”
Hampden won the Sept. 27 meeting in Farmington, 2-1.
“Good team on the other side,” Stevens said. “We knew they were going to give us a good, hard battle. One of the toughest games we played all year was at their place, so we knew they were going to give us a little bit of a fit here. We thought if got them on turf we’d be OK. We expected to score one or two more goals, but tonight just wasn’t the night for it.”
Hampden, which was knocked out of the playoffs with a semifinal loss to Lewiston last season, looks to extend its13-game winning streak against Mount Ararat. The Broncos have outscored their opponents 49-6 during the run.
“We only had a few seniors on last year’s team, so a lot of the guys that are on this team were on that team,” Stevens said. “They understand that we came up a little bit short in that game. They know what that feels like, and they don’t want to feel it again.”