The field seemed to be tilted in Traip Academy’s direction for much of the first half on Saturday night.
Finally, the Rangers were able to cash in.
Kathleen McPerson and Sophia Santamaria scored goals in the final 65 seconds of the period, providing the impetus for a 3-0 victory over Fort Kent in the Class C girls soccer state championship game at Falmouth High School.
It was the first title-game appearance since 2001 for the Rangers, who finished the season with a 16-2 record.
Fort Kent, the 2018 state champion, wound up 14-2-2.
The game matched the high schools that are located geographically the farthest apart from north to south. It is 362 driving miles between Kittery, which borders New Hampshire, and Fort Kent, which is just south of the Canadian border.
Coach Doug Cyr’s Warriors had been holding on in the face of relentless pressure by Traip Academy in the first half. Fort Kent had made a handful of forays deep into the Rangers, but also with no results.
McPherson put Traip on the board off a corner kick to the right of the goal. Santamaria’s service bounced around in front, where McPherson had enough time to settle the ball off her body and unleash a hard shot into the goal with 1:06 to play in the half.
The Rangers scarcely had time to complete their celebration when opportunity knocked again. With 15 seconds remaining in the half, a Fort Kent player was whistled for a hand ball just outside the top of the box on the right-hand side.
Santamaria made it count, lofting a high shot directly into the upper far corner, well out of the reach of goalkeeper Lyndsay Ouellette.
Ouellette played well for the Warriors, who had some spurts of attacking pressure during the middle of the first half, but their limited shots were turned away.
Fort Kent was able to sustain some possession early in the second half, and even hit the crossbar twice after intermission, but the Warriors weren’t able to convert.
The Rangers eventually pushed the margin to 3-0 about halfway through the second half. McPherson again was the catalyst as she moved the ball around a defender in the middle, then slid a nifty pass to her left. Julia Durling took it and tucked it inside the left post with 19:35 to play in the contest.
McPherson proved to be a handful for the Fort Kent defense, which tried to counter her shiftiness and quickness with a more physical style, but wasn’t able to keep her from controlling action in the offensive third.