Defensive-minded MDI stuns Camden Hills in playoffWindjammers shut out for only third time this season
Rockport — The No. 6. Mount Desert Island girls soccer squad made the most of its scoring opportunities during the Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 29 Eastern Class B quarterfinal playoff game with No. 3 Camden Hills.
While the Windjammers ultimately had more chances to put the ball in the net, the Trojans capitalized when it mattered most, which is why the visitors will move on.
MDI scored a goal in each half and held the typically-potent Windjammer offense in check for 80 minutes en route to a 2-0 win on Don Palmer Field.
The Windjammers' season ended at 11-2-2.
Mount Desert Island (11-4-1, including a 4-0 prelim playoff win over No. 11 Nokomis of Newport) moves on to face the winner of No. 2 Hermon (14-0) and No. 7 Winslow (9-5-1) in the semifinals.
Camden Hills had outscored opponents 54-4 through the first 10 games of the season on its way to a 9-0-1 record.
In the Windjammers' final five games, including the team's 3-0 loss to Waterville in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B title game in Augusta, Camden Hills was 1-3-1 and scored only three goals.
Veteran Camden Hills coach Meredith Messer said after the game, “It's a love-hate relationship with this game” as “you can do all the right things and not put the ball in the net.”
“We did everything we needed to do to create our opportunities,” she said. “And we had some nice opportunities. I think some of it was nerves. When you play someone you've never played before it takes about 15 minutes to get a rhythm. I thought we did a nice job defensively all game. It's just the way the ball bounces.”
Opal Curless scored both goals for the Trojans.
Both keepers — Camden Hills' Rachel Pease and MDI's Hannah Shaw — had seven saves in the game. Camden Hills led 17-7 in shots and 4-1 in corner kicks.
The Windjammers had a tough time mustering much offense against the stingy Trojan defense. While they attempted 17 shots, many were well-defended and, thus, the hosts could not get many clean looks at the net.
Camden Hills changed its formation in the final 10 minutes as they put four forwards up top in an attempt to tie the game 1-1, at that time.
However, that may have factored into MDI's second goal with 6:32 left when Curless took a nice through-ball from a teammate and popped the ball past Pease, a score that essentially put the game out of reach.
“We did come in with some confidence,” said MDI coach Tom Savage. “The [Penobscot Valley Conference] has some really good teams and we felt like we played one of the best teams [to a] 1-0 [loss], which was Hermon. So going through the season we had a lot of confidence about ourselves no matter who we were playing.”
Curless put the Trojans ahead 1-0 with 21:51 left in the first half when she made a few nifty moves in the box and put the ball past Pease near post.
“She hit it on the high corner and that's hard to do,” Messer said. “Rachel's 6-feet-1, so that's hard to do. It was a well-placed shot. And that was really the only good opportunity they had in the first half.”
Tuesday's game was the third time Camden Hills had been shut out this season. One was a scoreless tie against Oceanside and the other was a 3-0 loss to Waterville in the KVAC title game.
A low-scoring game was exactly what the Trojans were looking for.
“We play a defensive style,” said Savage. “Our games are low scoring. Sometimes it takes a long time before we score and we win a game 1-0. That's common, [but] it's nerve-wracking.”
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Mark has been covering local sports throughout Knox, Waldo and part of Lincoln county since 2007. He has a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication from the University of Maine and is also a 2000 graduate of Rockland District High School.
Mark is an avid fan of the Boston Red Sox, fantasy sports, the AMC drama "Breaking Bad" and iced coffee.
He resides in Thomaston with his wife Jenn and sons Beckett and Austin.
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