Two traditionally strong Class A boys soccer teams each seeking a jumpstart to its 2019 season met on the artificial turf at the Weatherbee Complex in Hampden on Tuesday evening.
Jacob Munroe’s goal off a corner kick midway through the opening half proved to be the difference as Bangor picked up its first victory of the year with a 1-0 win over Hampden Academy.
Munroe’s goal came on his second chance within a matter of seconds, and just after the Rams were awarded a corner kick when the senior’s first bid from about 20 yards out to the left of the goal was tipped over the crossbar by Hampden goalkeeper Colby Small.
The Rams’ re-start from the right corner went to freshman Gabriel Berenyi some 15 yards from the goal at the near post, and he sent the ball across the penalty area to Munroe, who kicked it back past Small and inside the right post to give Bangor the only goal it needed with 21 minutes 3 seconds left in the first half.
Senior Austin Conway preserved the shutout in goal with six saves on 13 shots for 1-3 Bangor, while Small made seven saves on 15 shots for 0-3-1 Hampden.
Bangor had entered the match with a winless record to date this season while facing opponents — Camden Hills of Rockport, two-time defending state champion Lewiston and Messalonskee of Oakland — with a combined 8-1 record entering Tuesday’s play.
Hampden’s season had gotten off to a similar start, with one-goal losses to 3-0 Lewiston and 3-0 Brunswick along with a 2-2 stalemate with 0-2-1 Cony of Augusta.
Hampden has been coached so far this season by junior varsity coach Kirk Soule. He has filled in for head coach Paul Wellman, who is completing a deployment abroad with the U.S. Marines.
Wellman, who moved over to coach the Broncos’ boys team this year after three seasons as the school’s girls varsity soccer coach, is expected to return to the Hampden sidelines soon.
The first half was played at a largely deliberate pace, with Bangor getting the better of the play with a 9-4 shots advantage — and Conway not required to make a save.
Both teams opened up the field after intermission, with each able to penetrate the other’s defense to some extent and Hampden having the better of the scoring opportunities.
The Broncos’ best chance came with 10 minutes left in regulation when senior Tetsushi Okada gained possession near the edge of the penalty area, dribbled amid defenders until he found open space and grounded a hard shot that required a diving save by Conway.