BANGOR, Maine — Abby Pyne of Dixmont hasn’t seen much of her Seacoast United Blackbear teammates since she started attending Loomis Chaffee School in Windsor, Conn., late last summer.
She made a special effort to see them Sunday and play in goal for Blackbear in its 2-1 double-overtime victory over Seacoast United Mariners of Portland in the Under-16 girls final of the State Cup competition.
“I’ve played with a lot of those girls before. I was happy and excited to make that game,” said Pyne on Tuesday.
While most of the players came from eastern and central Maine, Pyne had to make a nearly four-hour trip up from Connecticut to participate.
“She said, ‘I wouldn’t miss this for the world,’” said Blackbear coach MJ Ball.
Seacoast Blackbear advances to the Region 1 tournament set for June 27-July 2 at Kingston, R.I. Region 1 comprises 15 soccer associations in 13 states from Virginia to Maine.
The Blackbear squad basically consists of players from last year’s U-15 team, which also defeated the Mariners for the 2012 State Cup.
Blackbear and the Mariners, mostly from the Portland area, have been competitors since before Blackbear United of Bangor merged with Seacoast United last year.
“That adds a little to it,” said Ball. “The competitive nature is in both teams. Both want to win.”
The teams had squared off in the first game of the preliminary round, playing to a 1-1 tie.
They both then swept the other three games on their schedules to set up the State Cup final rematch.
On Sunday, Blackbear’s Pilar Elias scored the game-winner seven minutes into the second 15-minute overtime period.
“It was pretty awesome. It felt great,” said Elias.
Pyne started the winning play with a free kick about 10 yards back from midfield.
“I got the ball at the top of the [penalty box] to the left of the goal,” said offensive center midfielder Claire Petersen.
Elias started toward the goal and Petersen passed the ball ahead for her.
“The goalie dived out at the ball and I tapped it around her,” said Elias. “The defender tripped me, but I got up and tapped it in.”
The goal gave Blackbear an extra lift.
“It was a very aggressive play,” said Elias. “It really pumped us up.”
The game was not a sudden-death format. After the teams finished the first 80 minutes tied 1-1, they had to play two 15-minute overtime periods, regardless of how many goals were scored.
If the game was still tied after the two overtimes, then it would have been decided by penalty kicks.
So the Blackbear team had to protect its lead while the clock ran down.
“It felt like forever,” Ball said.
Ball was sure the Mariners thought the clock was running fast.
“At that point, we tried to slow the [action] down and they tried to speed it up,” he said.
“It was definitely a hectic part of the game,” said Pyne. “It showed how much heart there is in this team.”
The Blackbear defense stiffened and limited the Mariners’ scoring chances more so than earlier in the game.
“I saw some shots [throughout the game], but the defense did a great job turning shots around,” said Pyne.
Their play for the first 70 minutes was off, though, said Maddie Page.
“We played extremely panicky,” said Page, a right center defender. “They outplayed us all over the field.”
“I thought we were going to lose,” said Elias, who shifted between center mid and striker. “As the game got going on, we finally got it together.”
The Mariners’ Tori Daigle opened the scoring, and Blackbear’s Faith Forsythe eventually tallied the equalizer with 10 minutes left in regulation.
“That gave us a lot of reassurance,” said Page. “We went into overtime a lot less panicky.
“We played more defensively but also more composed. I’m proud of everyone how they handled it.”
After the game, Pyne had to return to Connecticut for an Elite Clubs National League game with her SoccerPlus team, arriving 10 minutes before its start.
“She didn’t even stay for the awards ceremony,” said Ball.
Pyne knew that was going to be the case, but she was happy anyway.
“The Blackbear game was the highlight of my weekend,” she said. “To pull that off was definitely worth it.”
Team roster: Savannah Allain, Hermon; Paige Belanger, Fairfield; Emily Berry, Ellsworth; Allie Boulier, Bangor; Morgan Buck, Hermon; Sarah Clough, Mount Vernon; Anna Maria Dagher, Bangor; Pilar Elias, Winslow; Faith Forsythe, Fairfield; Eve George, Bangor; Catelyn Kimball, Brewer; Maddie Page, Hermon; Claire Petersen, Hermon; Abby Pyne, Dixmont, Diana Tyutyunnik, Orono; Coach: MJ Ball