|Orono High School||Houlton High School|
HOULTON, Maine — Jimmy Fitzpatrick’s goal 6:58 into the match stood up as fourth-seeded Houlton edged No. 7 Orono 1-0 on Thursday afternoon to win its second straight Eastern Maine Class C boys soccer championship.
The win advances coach Mike Carlos’ Shiretowners (14-2-1) to Saturday’s 10 a.m. state final at Scarborough against Western Maine champ Hall-Dale of Farmingdale.
Waynflete defeated Houlton 2-1 in double overtime in the 2011 state championship match.
Orono, which lost its fifth consecutive Eastern Maine final — the last four all requiring trips to Aroostook County — ended its season with a 9-7-2 record.
Fitzpatrick, a senior striker who scored three goals in Houlton’s 3-1 victory over Orono in last year’s EM title game, outbattled two Red Riot defenders as well as charging goalie Einar Loktu in the middle of the field near the 18-yard line for possession of a long lead pass from senior midfielder Brandon Ward.
Fitzpatrick was able to tip the ball to the left of the crowd, then chase it down and ground the ball into the open net for his 38th goal of the season to give the Shiretowners a 1-0 lead with 33:02 left in the first half.
Houlton maintained offensive control for the remainder of the first half, and while Orono developed more possession during the game’s final 40 minutes the Red Riots were unable to seriously challenge Shiretowners’ goalie Kyle Buzzeo.
Houlton finished with a 15-7 advantage in shots on goal, with Buzzeo making seven saves and Loktu credited with 14 stops, seven in each half.