BANGOR, Maine — Tuesday’s lighter winds and periodic sunshine marked the calm after Monday’s storm that left hundreds of thousands of Maine residents without power overnight or longer and even more trees blown down near homes and highways across the state.
But calm is relative.
Take Bangor High School athletic director Steve Vanidestine, whose Rams are scheduled to play Wednesday in both the Class A North boys and girls soccer championship games.
The girls’ match already was scheduled for 2:30 p.m. at Camden Hills of Rockport.
Final details for the Bangor boys’ home regional final against Lewiston remained a work in progress until mid-day Tuesday, with that matchup now set for 6 p.m. on the Rams’ field at the school.
One goal for Vanidestine was to enable fans of both Bangor teams to be able to see both games, but complicating the issue was that the high school has been without power since Monday, prompting the cancellation of school Tuesday with no certainty of when electricity would be fully restored.
But the school’s soccer field, while located less than a hundred yards from Red Barry Gymnasium on campus but connected separately to the power grid, now does have electricity, enabling the game to be played under the lights with a working electronic scoreboard and concession stand.
“We do have lights here now,” said Vanidestine late Tuesday morning. “We don’t have them at Bangor High, but when they put in the lights for our fields they put them in from the power line on Broadway so the lights on the soccer field aren’t hooked directly into the high school.”
All afterschool activities were canceled at Bangor on Monday, but the two teams were scheduled to practice Tuesday afternoon.
Teams losing at least one practice due to the storm in advance of their biggest games of the season to date were the norm around the state, but at this point in the season many coaches suggest that rest is just as important — if not more so — than the additional training.
“I think we’re fine. Rest for some of our players is needed, and we’ve played Lewiston twice and we know how we match up,” said Bangor boys soccer coach Garth Berenyi, who has given his team a day off from practice on multiple occasions after games late in the season, including last Wednesday’s A North quarterfinal victory over Cony of Augusta as well as Sunday’s off day after Saturday’s 6-2 semifinal victory over Mt. Blue of Farmington.
“Yes, there are a few finer points we want to review,” Berenyi added, “but we can do that with just one practice.”
The top-seeded and defending state champion Rams (15-0-1) own two victories over No. 2 Lewiston (12-2-2) already this year, a 3-2 decision in their mutual season opener on Sept. 2 and a 3-1 win over the Blue Devils in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championship game just after the conclusion of the regular season.
“I think missing the one practice is not going to make that much of an impact,” said Berenyi, “and I don’t know if (Lewiston) practiced either because this was an issue throughout the state.”
Bangor girls soccer coach Joe Johnson shared a similar opinion about his team’s lost practice Monday as the third-ranked Rams prepare to play top-seeded and defending state champion Camden Hills for the third time this season.
“I think the rest is more important than anything else at this point of the season,” said Johnson.
Camden Hills (15-0-1) and Bangor (12-3-1) have split the last two Class A North girls soccer finals, with Bangor going on to win the state crown in 2015 and Camden Hills winning it all last fall.
The Windjammers are 1-0-1 against the Rams so far this fall, with the teams playing to a 2-2 tie at Bangor on Sept. 7 and Camden Hills winning 4-0 on Oct. 7.
“We’re pretty familiar with each other,” said Johnson, whose team also had Sunday and Monday off after its 3-0 semifinal win at No. 2 Brunswick on Saturday.
One coach perhaps slightly more invested in having one practice before the regional finals is Bangor Christian’s Aaron Wilcox, whose top-ranked Patriots (14-2) had not worked out since edging Fort Fairfield 1-0 last Friday in its Class D North boys soccer semifinal.
“I’m torn by it a little,” said Wilcox, whose team will play Wednesday for its eighth regional championship in the last nine years — the Patriots also have won six of the last eight state crowns — when it faces No. 2 Central Aroostook of Mars Hill (15-1) in a 2 p.m. start at Husson University.
“The rest is good, but since we haven’t been on the field together in three days it will be good to get back out there (Tuesday) .”
Among other area teams deep into the playoffs that were set to resume practice Tuesday is the Brewer High School football team.
Coach Nick Arthers’ fifth-seeded Witches, 5-4 after a 29-28 Class B North quarterfinal victory at No. 4 Messalonskee of Oakland last Friday, did not practice Monday after all afterschool activities were cancelled due to the storm. But with school back in session Tuesday so, too, was practice, though it was moved to Hampden Academy due to soggy conditions at Brewer’s practice field.
Brewer is scheduled to visit top-ranked Skowhegan (5-3) in its semifinal set for 7 p.m. Friday.
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