BANGOR, Maine — There’s a sense of drama in any postseason contest no matter the sport, an uncertainty that grows even stronger the longer the outcome remains in doubt.
“We all love the game, but these end-of-season games are so intense,” said Bangor High School sophomore soccer player Andrew Barrowman. “We just want to keep playing.”
Barrowman and the the third-ranked Rams will get their chance to play at least one more match this season after scoring three goals during the final 20 minutes, 20 seconds of play to defeat No. 6 Brunswick 3-0 in an Eastern Maine Class A quarterfinal Wednesday evening.
Bangor (12-3) plays at No. 2 Lewiston (12-1-2) in a 5:30 p.m. semifinal Saturday. Lewiston topped No. 7 Messalonskee of Oakland 3-1 in its quarterfinal Wednesday.
Brunswick ends its season with an 8-7 record.
Barrowman scored twice and assisted on Bangor’s third goal by freshman Carson Atherley after the Rams had withstood some dangerous Brunswick scoring bids late in the first half and early during the final 40-minute period.
“We talked about how the score would be tied with 20 minutes left and we’d be strong and hopefully stronger than them,” said Bangor coach Dave Patterson. “And if we’d keep moving the ball and keep wearing them down we were going to get chances, and sure enough that’s what happened and guys took advantage of their opportunities really well.”
The go-ahead goal came on the fourth shot of a wild Bangor offensive foray that began with Liam Harrigan celebrating after thinking he had scored on a shot from the left side, only to have the ball carom off the inside of the far goalpost and back into the field.
From there Atherley launched a blast that smacked off the crossbar before bouncing back to teammate Sam Bolduc, whose 25-yard volley toward the upper right corner of the net was blocked but not controlled by Brunswick goalie Ryan Brescia.
Barrowman raced in toward the loose ball near the right goalpost and scored from close range to give the Rams a 1-0 lead with 20:20 to play.
“Sam hit a nice shot that was going top corner,” said Barrowman. “The goalie made an excellent save but dropped it and I ran in and finished it. It was pretty crazy.”
Barrowman scored again with 8:18 left, taking a lead pass from Eli Clein in the middle of the field 30 yards out, flicking the ball past two defenders and then popping a shot over the oncoming Brescia to make it 2-0.
Atherley added his insurance goal four minutes later.
“It was getting pressured out there, we were scared because they had some good chances,” said Barrowman. “But we had all the play and sooner or later we were going to score.”
Bangor was in position to take control late in the match thanks to a defensive effort that yielded few Brunswick scoring chances — none of which got past sophomore goalie Stanley Clarke.
Moments after the Dragons’ Christian Glover hit the crossbar midway through the first half, teammate Blake Gordon delivered a rising 25-yard bid from the right wing that Clarke snared after diving to his right.
Ten minutes into the second half, a centering pass from the right corner by Brunswick’s Keenan Welzel left teammate Quang Durst alone with Clarke, but Clarke dove to the ground to stop Durst’s low shot with his right hand.
“They crossed it in and their guy was wide open, which was unfortunate,” said Clarke. “I started to come out and was able to set right on time when he shot it, and I was able to react and get to the ground fast enough.”
Bangor finished with a 19-12 edge in shots, with Clarke making six saves while Brescia made four stops for Brunswick.