FALMOUTH — Western Maine has dominated the Class B schoolboy soccer ranks for nearly two decades and Yarmouth continued that trend Saturday when Luke Pierce scored a goal in each half to power Yarmouth by Ellsworth 5-0 in the state final at Falmouth High School.
Coach Mike Hagerty’s team won its first state championship since 2008 and capped off a 17-0-1 season while Ellsworth, the last Eastern Maine team to win a state title in Class B (1993), finishes 17-1.
Yarmouth was in control right from the outset, taking advantage of its skill and speed and using Falmouth’s artificial turf to its advantage.
The Clippers’ home field also has turf.
“There’s no bad bounces on turf, it really makes us able to spread the game out, play wide,” Pierce said.
Ellsworth was dealt a big blow early in the match, with sophomore midfielder Josh Bean having to leave with an ankle injury, and he never returned.
“He controls the midfield, and that would’ve made a big difference,” said Ellsworth coach Brian Higgins.
Without Bean’s presence, the Clippers were able to take advantage and control possession and kept the Eagles’ midfielders and forwards pinned in their own end.
Campbell Belisle Haley opened the scoring 13:30 into the contest, heading in a Ryan Maguire corner kick.
Yarmouth had glorious chances to break open its lead throughout the half, but Ellsworth’s Jordan Carter played well in goal while the Clippers missed open nets a few times, and Sam Torres hit the post with 9 minutes left.
But Yarmouth essentially put it away with two goals 37 seconds apart near the end of the half, both coming off of rebounds.
Eamon Costello one-touched a Haley rebound home with 3:56 to go while Pierce scored his first goal with 3:16 left, blasting in a followup shot after Carter had made the initial save.
Pierce and Torres scored second-half goals for the Clippers, with Cotter Jackson and Haley picking up assists.
Pierce was a tad surprised his team was able to generate that much offense against an Ellsworth club that had compiled 11 regular-season shutouts.
“They’re still a great team, our team played our hearts out, you’ve got to give it to everybody, every single player played well,” Pierce said.
Higgins wasn’t surprised at how skilled the Clippers were.
“They were more physical than anybody we’ve seen all year, more aggressive, certainly much better skilled,” he said. “It was really a little bit of a shock to see them score like they did.”
Yarmouth also did a good job taking Ellsworth out of its possession game and forcing the Eagles to play a boot-and-run style.
“Basically today we knew that we needed to play real upbeat, we knew Ellsworth was going to be a good, hard team,” Torres said. “Our goal was to play with our feet, play it wide.”
Higgins also noted that a bulk of Yarmouth’s players also play on premier teams.
“There’s so much opportunity down here, we went past two indoor facilities on the way here,” he said.
With the Clippers controlling the play, Ellsworth’s Andrew Austin didn’t have many opportunities to set up his teammates with his flip throw-ins, while the Eagles could only get three shots at goal to Yarmouth’s 26.
Yarmouth ‘keeper Chris Knaub was relatively untested and had to make just two saves while Carter made 11.