FARMINGTON — The Bangor girls soccer team has always endured tough games at the hands of Mt. Blue, and Friday was no different.
The Cougars rallied from a 3-1 halftime deficit with two goals in the second half and withstood some Bangor scoring opportunities in two overtimes as the two teams played to a 3-3 tie in a battle of Class A unbeatens.
Both clubs are 2-0-1.
Marlie Mochamer got the Cougars’ rally going with the second of her two goals 7:51 into the second half when she pounced on a loose ball in a crowded goalmouth and sent a low shot to the left of Rams’ goalkeeper Meri Wicks.
“We just played hard, we made good, quick passes, broke it down that way and just stayed strong,” said Mochamer. “It definitely boosted our spirits, we needed it.”
Coach Fred Conlogue’s club tied it three minutes later when Chelsea Newhall one-touched an Abby Flanagan corner kick into the goal, and there would be no more scoring, mainly thanks to the play of Cougars goalkeeper Allison Brown, and Mt. Blue’s defense.
“We missed our chances and they’re a very defensive-minded team, so when they got that tie, it was going to be tough to get one,” said Bangor coach Joe Johnson.
The Cougars packed their backs and midfielders in against the talented Ram attackers, with Hannah Allen doing a nice job of marking the dangerous Ashley Robinson, who had scored seven goals in Bangor’s first two games.
“We certainly had a couple of good opportunities, but the same thing happened to us last year,” Johnson said, referring to a 0-0 tie the teams battled to here last fall.
The Rams had plenty of chances in both overtimes, but a Grace Maclean shot at the end of the first extra period went just over the crossbar, while Brown stuffed Maclean and Kim Jordan on point-blank shots in the second overtime.
The senior finished with 12 saves, including several gems, particularly in the first half, to keep Mt. Blue in the game.
“We wouldn’t have been within 3-1 if she hadn’t made those saves in the first half,” said Conlogue.
One of them included a diving stop on a Robinson strike which was headed toward the far post.
Mt. Blue took a 1-0 lead 15:27 before halftime, with Mochamer scoring on a breakaway.
But the Rams were quick to respond, scoring three unanswered goals, including two from Jordan.
Jordan’s first tally came on a highlight-reel cross from the left flank by Maclean, in which Jordan perfectly headed the ball past a helpless Brown.
June Candland one-timed a cross from Jordan to give Bangor a 2-1 lead with 12:22 left in the half while Jordan re-directed a Robinson through ball 1:08 before the break.
But the Cougars’ defense responded from there, keeping the Rams off the board and gaining a chance to counterattack.
“To come back down 3-1 against a team of that caliber, that’s great,” Conlogue said. “It’s good for us to know we’re in that area, too.”
The Cougars also finished some scoring chances that they didn’t early in the game.
“We could’ve had two, three goals in the first half, and the difference was in the second half we finished those off,” Conlogue said.
Both teams played hard, clean, aggressive soccer while the 50-50 balls were fairly even.
Bangor had a 29-15 edge in shots.
“They came out and finished a couple opportunities that they had and we missed a couple opportunities that we had,” said Johnson. “They pack it in [well], it’s tough to score.”
Meri Wicks played a strong game in net for the Rams, coming up with seven saves while aggressively playing loose balls at the top of the penalty area.
Johnson knew coming in this was going to be a hard, physical game, and that’s what it turned out to be.
“Year in and year out, its always that way,” he said. “It’s always been a 1-1 tie, 1-0 game, that’s what you get down here.”
Emily Smith and Liz Hintz excelled in Bangor’s back line.