Black Bears earn important late-season win over PanthersMaranacook, coached by former Buccaneer Maganusson, nips host Medomak Valley
Waldoboro — In a late-season high school girls soccer game with potential far-reaching playoff implications, a team coached by a former Midcoast athletic standout made just one more play than host Medomak Valley and that resulted in a 1-0 victory for the visitors.
Maranacook, coached by former Georges Valley High School three-sport standout Travis Magnusson, scored a second-half goal to deny the host Panthers an important, Heal-Point-worthy victory on their own field on Friday afternoon, Oct. 7— a beautiful early-fall day.
The Panthers and Black Bears continue to fight for their postseason lives as both sit in the final playoff spots in their regions.
In the most recent Maine Principals' Association Heal Point Standings for Class B North, Medomak Valley (4-7, 24.9490 points) is 13th, while Waterville (11-0, 109.5408 points) is first in the 19-team region. The top 13 teams qualify for the playoffs.
There are a handful of games left in the regular season, but, at this point, Mount Desert Island (4-7, 24.8980 points) continues to nip at Medomak Valley's heels for that final postseason slot.
In Class B South, Maranacook (4-5-2, 27.6276 points) is 12th, while Yarmouth (11-0-1, 117.4490 points) is first in the 17-team region. The top 12 teams qualify for the playoffs.
Thus, Friday's game was important in the sense that it could, potentially, mean the difference between one of Friday's opponents qualifying for the postseason. However, things ultimately will be decided from the outcomes in the final few games of the season.
On Friday, the teams battled to a scoreless tie in the first 40 minutes. And it appeared, at least early in the second half, the foes might finish scoreless and need to play an overtime or two.
However, the Black Bears earned the decisive goal at the 17:23-mark of the second half when Lauren Clough, off an assist from Ally Phair, booted a rocket shot just under the crossbar that Panther goalie Chelsea Ripley had no chance of stopping.
Both teams had scoring chances throughout the 80-minute affair, however, the goalies, Ripley for the Panthers and Skyeler Webb for the Black Bears, always were up for the challenge.
Then Clough found the perfect spot to place her kick to notch the deciding goal midway through the second half.
The Panthers did apply plenty of pressure on the Black Bear net down the stretch, including from close-range in the final two minutes, but simply could not connect for the tying score.
In an interesting side note, Magnusson's former high school basketball coach, Nick DePatsy, was on hand to watch his daughter, Gabby, play for the Panthers as well as to catch up with Magnusson, who said he is trying to build a consistently solid, winning program in Readfield.
Magnusson said Medomak Valley has a strong squad, but felt the teams were evenly matched and the action on the field Friday proved that as the foes had scoring chances — with Clough's goal holding up as the key play of the hard-fought contest.
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Ken Waltz has been member of the media 30 years and has received hundreds of Maine Press Association and New England Press Association awards for his writing, photography and page design. He studied journalism at the University of Maine in Orono. He lives in South Thomaston with his wife, Sarah. The couple has an adult son, Brandon.
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