HAMPDEN — When Waterville and Hampden last met as schoolboy soccer opponents, Hampden built a 3-0 lead before Waterville knew what hit it.
But the Purple Panthers rallied to forge a 3-3 tie in that Sept. 7 encounter, and used that comeback confidence to edge the Broncos 1-0 in the rematch at the Weatherbee Complex on Wednesday.
Waterville, which began the day ranked fifth in Eastern Maine Class A, is now 5-2-1 on the season. Hampden, ranked sixth, fell to 3-3-2 after absorbing its second straight defeat.
“I think we had the better motivation here,” said Waterville senior back Matt Lynch. “We really wanted to beat them, and I think it showed.”
Lynch was a defensive catalyst for the Purple Panthers, who were able deny Hampden much in the way of sustained offense as well as shutting down Broncos’ leading scorer Graham Safford, who entered the match with 13 goals, including three against Waterville in the first half of their earlier meeting.
“I think we played amazing defense,” said Lynch, who marked Safford throughout the match. “We were able to shut Safford down and he had a hat trick on us the last time, but today we did our thing and I think that’s why we won.
“I really just worked my hardest and did what I could. I was really hoping [Safford] wouldn’t score, but everybody scores now and again. I’m just happy I was able to play my part in helping us win.”
Hampden finished with an 18-17 advantage in shots, but the only shot that mattered was a penalty kick off the foot of Waterville sophomore John Terhune with 18:30 left in the first half after the Broncos were whistled for a hand ball in the penalty area.
Terhune struck a low shot to the left of Hampden goalie Logan Poirier, and while Poirier (six saves) was able to get one of his hands on the ball, he wasn’t able to prevent it from going into the net.
Aided by the wind at its back in the first half as well as the home-field advantage of playing on artificial turf, Hampden did have a couple of quality scoring chances before intermission, but Corey Grover’s 30-yard blast hit off the right goal post and a solid bid by Cameron Libbey with three minutes left in the period was stopped by Waterville goalie Maxwell Brown (11 saves).
“We had to adjust to the field,” said Waterville senior midfielder David Cook. “We have a lot of set plays and it was hard to do those because the ball rolls on so fast, but we adjusted pretty well.
“But I think we played a lot better than the last time we played them. Last time we came out a lot flatter and they got the 3-0 lead before we came back. Today that PK early on gave us some momentum.
“We had some other chances that we didn’t finish, but all in all I thought we played better than in a lot of other games we’ve played this year.”