Bangor's Emily Streams (13) celebrates with teammates after scoring the first goal of their game against Mt. Ararat at Bangor High School on Sept. 17, 2021. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

Junior forward Samantha Erb gets limited playing time for the Bangor High School soccer team but she made the most of her minutes on Tuesday night.

Erb’s first goal of the season, coming with 9:31 left in the first half, snapped a 1-1 tie and sent the undefeated and top-seeded Rams on their way to a 4-1 victory over the ninth-seeded Oxford Hill Vikings in their Class A North quarterfinal at Cameron Stadium.

Bangor, 15-0, will host the winner of Wednesday’s game between No. 4 Mt. Ararat of Topsham, 7-4-3,  and No. 5 Messalonskee of Oakland, 7-5-2, in Saturday’s semifinal.

Oxford Hills finished at 6-8-2.

The Vikings stunned the Rams as sophomore midfielder Meredith Harthorne, the hero of Saturday’s come-from-behind 3-2 preliminary round win over Brewer with two goals, opened the scoring 2:13 into the game.

But Anna Connors answered just 23 seconds later with her first of two goals on the blustery evening.

Erb snapped the tie and Connors supplied the Rams with valuable breathing room in the first 7:13 of the second half with her second goal 3:44 into the half and a pass that set up Rachel Mathieu’s goal 3:29 later.

Erb’s go-ahead goal came off a pass from Ashley Schultz.

Erb took the pass in the middle of field just outside the penalty area, cut to her right and sailed her 18-yard shot neatly inside the post to the left of diving freshman goalie Maddy Herrick.

“It’s so exciting. I’m proud of myself and of Ashley. She won a 50-50 ball and if she hadn’t, I wouldn’t have scored,” Erb said.

Connors added that the play was “huge” and “really important for [Samantha] and for the team.”

Junior right wing Connors, the state Class A 200-meter champion, used her blazing speed to score her second goal of the game as she burst down the right wing, cut across the penalty area and curled a left-footed shot into the upper far corner.

“I think Juilia Smallwood gave me a pass. I cut to my left and hit it with my dominant foot,” Connors said.


Just moments later, she made another dash down the right flank and then chipped a pass across the goalmouth where Mathieu calmly directed it into the open net.

“Julia made a great run,” Connors said.

Harthorne started the scoring by maneuvering cleverly outside the penalty area and striking a perfectly placed shot into the corner to the right of Emma McNeil.

But the Vikings were barely done celebrating the goal when she received a through ball from Emmie Streams and directed a shot off the inside of her left foot past Herrick.

“This team has been very resilient all season long. The girls work hard and never give up,” said Bangor head coach Andrew Varisco.

The Rams, who dominated possession and limited Oxford Hills’ time in the attacking third with their tenacity, speed and depth, had 16 shot attempts to Oxford Hills’ four.

McNeil made one save and Herrick had six, including three off clean break-ins.

“She was very good,” said Connors about Herrick.

McNeil was also bailed out in the second half by senior back Smallwood, who sprinted behind her to clear a ball before it crossed the goal line with the score 4-1.

Connors thought the Rams got better as the game went along.

“Once we got into a rhythm midway through the first half and in the second half, we played very well,” Connors said. “We found the holes and gaps.”

The Vikings, who were without injured captain Bella Devivo (knee), were well-organized in the . back and caught the Rams with their offsides trap on several occasions.

But the Rams also generated several break-in opportunities when they beat the trap and would spree someone free.

“There were some moments when we lost sight of our marks,” said Oxford Hills coach Brittany Moore. “But I was glad the girls never gave up.”

Moore said Bangor has a lot of weapons and can wear teams down..

“They had some girls that were hidden in the first half who emerged for them in the second half,” Moore said.

The speedy and relentless Streams shone in the midfield for the Rams and Connors was a constant threat down the right side. Devon St. Louis was dangerous, particularly in the second half.

Backs Jane Leonard, Katie Hallee and Trinity Bernard turned in solid performances for the Vikings while under siege for most of the night.