Gallagher's OT goal lifts Camden Hills back to state gameIn rematch of last's year's state final, Windjammers to face Falmouth Nov. 3
Ellsworth — What a script and what an ending.
For the second straight year, the Camden Hills Regional High School boys soccer squad will battle for the state Class B championship, thanks to late-game heroics against a powerful regional playoff nemesis.
That all became possible in thrilling fashion Thursday night, Nov. 1 thanks to a Windjammer comeback, capped by the first high school goal by a freshman, as No. 2 Camden Hills (14-1-2) upended No. 1 Ellsworth (15-2) in the Eastern Class B title championship game.
Camden Hills will play Western champion Falmouth (12-3-2, after a 2-0 regional final win over Yarmouth, 11-2-3) in the state championship game on Saturday, Nov. 3 at 3 p.m. at Scarborough High School. Yarmouth was ranked first and Falmouth second in the West.
It will be a rematch of last year's state final, won by Falmouth 2-1.
“It’s awesome,” said Windjammer coach Ryan Hurley. “It’s unbelievable, especially with this group. No one gave these guys their due that they would get here. The last three weeks everything kind of came together and they’re playing their best soccer of the year at the right time.”
Freshman Jack Gallagher scored with 13:37 remaining in overtime, off a Peter Vannorsdall throw-in, to give the Windjammers the win over Ellsworth.
“I saw Peter throw it in and my eyes were on it the whole time,” said Gallagher. “Then I saw the keeper had it and I moved toward him just in case the ball dropped and it did. And I just kicked it into the goal.”
The host Eagles took a 1-0 edge when Josh Bean scored on a direct kick with 33:46 left in the first half. After a hand ball infraction against Camden Hills, the direct kick was set up with the Windjammers employing a defensive wall, but Bean's shot found the upper right corner of the net to make it 1-0.
“Josh Bean is a great player and he hit a beautiful ball into the upper 90,” said Hurley. “We were down a little bit after that and we were trying to play the way we normally do for a long time in the first half, then in the second half we just decided to play really direct and that helped a lot.”
“It was a very nice shot,” said Windjammer goalie Marshall Spear. “There’s nothing I could have done about it.”
Spear was back in goal for the Windjammers after missing the previous playoff game with Winslow due to a concussion. Steve Mahon was in net for the Eagles.
Spear was medically cleared to play in the game earlier in the day. Vannorsdall also missed the previous game due to a concussion, but returned to play a key role in the Thursday night's win.
“I cannot describe this,” Spear said. “It feels so good to get the rematch against Falmouth."
In one of the key plays of the game, Spear prevented a sure goal by Ellsworth when he dove and knocked a rocket shot by Maks Grover across the endline with about six minutes left in regulation.
“I would say he’s more than filled Ian Cushing’s shoes,” said Hurley of Spear, in reference to his all-conference goalie from one year ago. “That save he made at the end [of regulation], that ball was going in. And he just took control of the box and he did a great job.”
Spear was particularly busy throughout the night not only from Ellsworth's many shots on goal and corner kicks, but also defending numerous long throws into the box by Bean.
Colin Morse had knotted the game 1-1 with 7:56 left in the second half on a goal in a scrum in front of the net, after another Vannorsdall throw-in. Mahon made two saves in the crowded goalmouth before the ball rattled out to Morse, who used his left foot to chip it over the Ellsworth keeper and into the net.
“It felt like that ball was in there forever,” said Hurley of the scrum. “At one point I thought they were going to call dangerous play because there were two kids laying on the ground on the ball, but they didn’t. They just let it go and somebody knocked it in.”
About a minute after Camden Hills tallied the tying goal in the second half, Ellsworth had a goal disallowed because a throw-in by Bean did not touch another player before it went in the net.
Camden Hills also had several quality scoring chances within the final minute of regulation after failing to generate much offense through the game's first 70 minutes.
Vannordall booted a corner kick into the box that deflected off a pair of Eagles players, quickly regrouped and had another quality throw-in into the box, which Mahon punched out of the goal area as regulation ended.
The game was postponed one day due to rain-soaked, unplayable field conditions Oct. 31.
Thus, the Windjammers have even less time to celebrate Thursday's win as they prepare for Falmouth, a senior-laden and talented group.
“They’ve got their whole entire squad back except for like three kids [from last season],” said Hurley of the defending state champion Yachtsmen. “They’ve got like eight or 12 seniors, you know the pedigree. They handled Yarmouth [Wednesday] as far as I heard, so they’re playing well. That’s going to be a really tough match. We’ve just got to try and hang tight as long as we can and maybe hope for some luck I think.”
The Windjammers played Thursday's game without Kienan Brown (concussion), Bill Bracher (concussion) and Trueman Moore (knee injury). Brown is expected back for the state title game.
The Windjammers and Eagles do not play one another during the regular season, but two years ago Camden Hills lost to host Ellsworth in the regional final.
The Eagles or the Windjammers have now represented Eastern Class B in the state title game the past four years.
Eastern Class B has not won a state championships since 1993, when Ellsworth earned a 2-0 win over Marshwood.
Since that time, Western Class B has dominated, winning the past 18 state crowns, with either the Falmouth Yachtsmen or Yarmouth Clippers prevailing the past 12 seasons.
Courier Publications sports staff can be reached by phone at 207-594-4401 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.