HAMPDEN, Maine — Forget the fact the Western Maine winner had claimed 19 straight Class B boys soccer state titles.
Greely of Cumberland Center fully expected to have its hands full Saturday night against three-time defending Eastern Maine champion Camden Hills of Rockport.
“We knew that Camden, this is their third year coming in,” said Greely senior defender Patrick O’Shea. “We knew they were really hungry.”
That healthy respect helped keep coach Mike Andreesen’s Rangers motivated. Greely scored approximately 3 1/2 minutes into the game Saturday and made the goal stand up, claiming the Class B state title with a 1-0 victory at chilly Hampden Academy.
Greely, which moved this season from Class A to Class B, capped a 14-2-2 campaign that included ousting No. 1 Yarmouth in the Western Maine championship.
“We were always underdogs to [No. 1] Yarmouth,” said Greely sophomore striker Jacob Nason. “They went undefeated, then we knocked them out the last game and had all the momentum going our way.”
Saturday’s outcome was tough on an emotional group of seniors from Camden Hills.
“I’m proud of my guys,” said Windjammers coach Ryan Hurley. “They had a really awesome season and I’m just bummed out for the seniors.”
Camden Hills (16-1-1) lost in the title game for the third year in a row.
“It’s not just this season, it’s the futility of three times in a row, two times at this field,” said Windjammers senior midfielder Peter Vannorsdall. “All people are going to remember is that one loss.”
Greely had more frequent and higher quality scoring chances over the course of the contest. The Rangers fired 17 shots, putting eight on goal.
Camden Hills finished with 11 shots, only two of which were on frame.
Senior goalkeeper Marshall Spear made eight saves for the Windjammers. That included a diving stop of Matthew Crowley’s penalty kick with approximately five minutes remaining.
Junior Jon Wright posted two saves for Greely.
Greely wasted little time taking the upper hand in a game that started nearly 90 minutes late after the Class B girls game went to penalty kicks.
Senior midfielder Aidan Black got the play started as he made a speedy run down the right flank. Sophomore striker Jacob Nason cut back to the inside and received a pinpoint pass from Black, then fired a slicing shot past Spear, who had come off his line in an attempt to cut down the angle.
“I didn’t think that was going to go in,” Nason said. “I was just hoping for the best. I heard their goalie was pretty good. We just wanted to test him early.”
The goal came less than four minutes into the game, which was played without benefit of the scoreboard. A malfunctioning power transformer knocked out power to the board and the press box late in the Cape Elizabeth-Waterville girls game and it was never restored.
The contest featured intense, physical play by both squads. The Greely defense, which was spearheaded by junior Harrison Shain, senior Matthew Crowley and O’Shea, was able to contain the Windjammers’ speedy strikers.
“We got away from our game plan,” Hurley said. “We normally work the ball to the end line and bring it back, and we didn’t do that enough.”
Greely led all night, but never stopped attacking as it tried to extend the advantage.
“Our coaches said that they didn’t think one goal was going to win it,” O’Shea said. “We kept putting the pressure up like it was a 0-0 game starting the second half.”