A hardworking and efficient Waterville High School defense frustrated Hermon High School 36-goal scorer Sydney Gallop for 86 minutes and 17 seconds on Wednesday night.
But the sophomore striker finally broke through in the first overtime and the top-seeded Hawks earned their first Class B North championship since 2015 with a 2-1 victory over Waterville at the Hampden Academy field.
Hermon (17-0) faces Cape Elizabeth (16-1) in Saturday’s 12:30 p.m. state final at Falmouth High School.
Senior striker Sadie Garling’s header off a perfectly-placed corner by Paige St. Pierre staked Waterville (15-2) to a 1-0 lead in the first half.
But Hermon freshman center midfielder Ally Cameron equalized in the second half by curling a pinpoint 23-yard free kick into the corner to the right of diving Waterville goalie Jacie Richard.
In overtime, freshman forward Lyndsee Reed set up Gallop’s game-winner by taking the ball out of the air and slotting a pass ahead to her.
Gallop fought her way past a defender and broke in alone on goal before calmly flicking the ball with the outside of her right foot past Richard.
“Lyndsee chipped it to me. I saw the goalie in the middle of the net. Coach [M.J. Ball] is always telling us to put it in the corners,” Gallop said. “This feels awesome.”
“That was a typical Lyndsee-Sydney combination. Lyndsee took the ball out of the air, knocked it into Sydney’s path and Sydney took one touch [and put it in],” Ball said.
Hermon goalie Meg Tracy finished with three saves on seven shots including a game-saving stop off Garling with five minutes left in regulation as she fully extended her right arm to parry the ball away.
“I thought it was going in,” Garling said. “The goalie made an amazing save.”
“[Garling] is very talented,” said Tracy, who used all of her 5-foot-11 frame to reach the shot which was labeled for the top near side corner. “If I didn’t jump, it would have gone in.”
Richard wound up with five saves on 19 shots as the Hawks had the lion’s share of possessions in the extremely physical contest between two talented and tenacious teams.
Hermon won the majority of the 50-50 balls and spent most of the second half in Waterville’s end.
But the dynamic St. Pierre and Garling were a constant threat on counter-attacks.
Garling opened the scoring 12:06 into the game when she found herself unmarked in the penalty area and directed St. Pierre’s corner with her head into the far corner past the helpless Tracy.
“I’ve been working on my headers a lot and Paige always puts a perfect ball in,” Garling said.
Hermon pressed the attack looking for the equalizer and Natasha Cowan sailed a 20-yarder just wide of the far corner before St. Pierre nearly extended the lead with a low shot from the top of the penalty area that skipped just wide of the near post.
Cameron drew Hermon level with 27:36 remaining in the second half after a Waterville handball resulted in a free kick.
She hit it with the inside of her right foot and hooked it perfectly into the corner.
“I thought it was going to hit the crossbar so when it hit the back of the net, I was so excited,” Cameron said.
“Ally is very good at taking those,” Gallop said. “That was awesome.”
Ball said his team seemed nervous in the first half and didn’t play well.
“We were much better in the second half. We were in their half the entire time. But it took an incredible goal by Ally Cameron to get us back into it,” Ball said.
Waterville coach Mark Serdjenian felt his team turned in a good performance.
“Both teams have a lot to be proud of. It was definitely worthy of a championship game,” Serdjenian said.
Senior midfielder Grace Page was immense for the Hawks, who started. Senior Paige Plissey and sophomore Madison Higgins anchored the defense.
Junior Emme Ayers and freshman Allison Anich were stellar in the back for the Purple Panthers.