The Lee Academy boys celebrate their 1-0 double overtime victory against Wisdom Tuesday evening by raising the championship plaque for their fans. Credit: Joseph Cyr / Houlton Pioneer Times

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine – The Lee Academy boys varsity soccer team became the Class D North champions after the No. 2 Pandas defeated the No. 4 Wisdom Pioneers 1-0 in the regional title game on Tuesday.

The game was a battle of skill as well as stamina. During the first two halves, both Wisdom and Lee were given several scoring opportunities, but couldn’t seem to find the extra push needed to score a goal.

However, play was excellent on both sides, with both teams demonstrating great ball control, communication and especially goalkeeping.

Play then went into overtime. There, Lee seemingly finished the game with a goal at 12:23, sending the whole team onto the field in celebration. However, that was put to an end when it was ruled that Lee had had players offsides and the goal did not count.

This sent the game into double overtime. It was looking like the game would go into penalty kicks after a spectacular diving save by Wisdom keeper Joel Desarjins.

However, with one final rally, Lee made one last push through the Wisdom defenses, with Joel Gerlach scoring the game-winning goal with just 31.4 seconds left on the overtime clock, with an assist from Pedro Anselmo.

“We told the kids that they are a really good team, and we might be a little better, but they are gonna give us a battle,” said Lee head coach Randy Harris. “It was gonna come down to if we could punch one in or so, we outshot them 35-9 according to our stats. We were sure glad to punch it in at the end.”

“It’s tough, especially for my four seniors who have given so much to this program. We haven’t been to the finals in a quarter century,” said Wisdom head coach Dominique Rossignol. “We battened down the hatches and hoped to make it to penalty kicks, but 31.4 seconds is all it takes.”

With this victory, Lee Academy moves on to play in the Class D State championship on Saturday, Nov. 6 against Class D South champion North Yarmouth Academy.

David DiMinno

David grew up in New York, and moved to Maine to study political science at the University of Maine. In his spare time, he loves hiking, playing tennis and skiing.