BANGOR, Maine — When a soccer team plays on a slippery field, no shot is a bad shot, especially if it’s raining.
Goalkeepers have to deal with balls that skip off the turf at a higher rate of speed, the wet ball is hard to hold on to and the visibility isn’t good.
Senior midfielder Emily Smith decided to take a shot from just beyond the penalty area and the rebound was poked home by junior midfielder Anna-Maria Dagher with 20:44 left in the second half as Bangor edged archrival Hampden Academy 1-0 in high school girls soccer action Thursday night.
It was a rematch of last season’s EM title game won by the Rams 4-2.
Bangor, the defending-three time EM champ, is now 2-0 while Hampden fell to 1-1.
Bangor had the better of the play, especially in the second half, but the Broncos defended effectively and occasionally generated counter-attack chances.
Bangor had a 19-7 advantage in shots at goal.
Both goalies played extremely well considering the conditions at the Bangor High field as Emily Gilmore finished with four saves and HA’s Sami Bowler had three stops.
Dagher finally broke the deadlock after Smith’s powerful shot bounced off the hands of Bowler and the unattended Dagher converted from seven yards out.
“It was slippery so I just decided to take a shot,” said Smith. “I tried to keep it low. It’s no fun (for a goalkeeper) to dive in this weather.”
Dagher said she adhered to coach Joe Johnson’s instructions.
“Coach is always telling us to crash the net and that’s what I did. I didn’t want to hit it too hard and put it over the net. I just tapped it into the corner,” said Dagher whose goal was her second of the young season.
Bangor sophomore netkeeper Gilmore preserved the win with some sure-handed saves off some long-range shots and a crucial intervention on a dangerous run by Abby Lord with 10 minutes remaining.
Lord was able run onto a through ball and shield the ball from Ram defender Tiffany Gray only to poke it a little too far ahead which enabled Gilmore to come sprawling out and cover it.
“Sometimes I hesitate but, that time, I knew I should come out,” said Gilmore, who transferred to Bangor from Brewer High and is playing in goal for the first time after being a midfielder at Brewer.
“She saved us,” said Dagher.
Bangor had nearly doubled the lead a minute before Lord’s chance when Mary Butler’s well-placed header sent Alli Boulier in down the left wing.
Bowler got a piece of Boulier’s shot but the ball rolled toward the goal and stopped on the goal line where Bronco defender Kayla Gagner cleared it out of danger.
Gilmore had to be alert with three minutes left when a Bronco shot by Elise Arsenault from outside the area hit a Ram defender and changed directions. Gilmore scrambled to her left to make the save.
“I thought we played well we just didn’t score well,” said Johnson. “We passed the ball well and had some good looks. Sometimes they go in, sometimes they don’t.
“Hampden played real tough. They marked us hard. It was an effort to get the chances we did,” Johnson added.
“I think we played better than the score reflects,” said Smith. “It was good to compete against a real quality team like Hampden.”
“It’s always fun to play them because the games are really intense,” said Dagher.
Hampden Academy coach Gina DeSantis said it was a “decent game.
“It was unfortunate that we left a player wide open on a rebound and they capitalized. It happens,” said DeSantis.
Gray and the Morris sisters, Anna and Grace, anchored a solid Ram defensive effort while Kristi Reichel, Gagner and Naomi Shearer played well on the back line for Hampden Academy.
JV: Bangor 3-2