Mariners halt Windjammers' 41-game regular-season unbeaten streakStunning home victory helps Oceanside boys soccer secure regional playoff spot
Thomaston — Three weeks ago, the Camden Hills boys soccer team earned a hard-fought 2-1 win over Oceanside, its toughest Midcoast rival, during the Windjammers' homecoming weekend celebration.
Three weeks later, the Mariners returned the favor at their own homecoming, ending one of the state's most impressive high school sports regular-season unbeaten streaks in the process.
Oceanside scored two goals in the first half and, despite suffering an own-goal minutes after taking a two-goal lead, played toe-to-toe with the talented Windjammers (10-1-2) the rest of the way to pull off the stunning 2-1 upset victory on Saturday afternoon, Oct. 13.
The win cemented a regional playoff spot for the Mariners (6-6-1), who have been flip-flopping in and out of the final playoff spot in Eastern Class B the past two weeks.
The victory also brought to an end the Windjammers' impressive 40-game regular-season unbeaten streak spanning to 2010, when Ryan Hurley was named the Windjammer coach. Camden Hills was 37-0-3 in regular-season games coached by Hurley heading into Saturday's contest.
That impressive unbeaten streak actually extended one game into the previous campaign, before Hurley joined the team, to make the squad 38-0-3 in the regular season since losing 2-1 to Mount View of Thorndike in the second-to-final game of the 2009 campaign. Thus, the Windjammers' regular-season unbeaten streak, which, of course, includes ties, was 41 games before Saturday's outcome.
On Saturday, Drew Townsend and Nick Judge scored goals for Oceanside, while Kaleb Robinson added an assist. The Mariners also conceded an own goal to Camden Hills.
Philip Atwood made five saves in goal for Oceanside, while Marshall Spear made nine saves in net for Camden Hills. Both teams attempted 10 shots, while Oceanside led 4-1 in corner kicks.
"It felt great," said Townsend, a senior who missed the first 6 1/2 games of the season after suffering a concussion in the team's season opener against Medomak Valley of Waldoboro, of Saturday's win over Camden Hills. "I didn't want this to be my last game here [at home in Thomaston], and I had this pit in my stomach telling me it wasn't going to be. We worked hard all week, and we deserved this win."
Despite Saturday's Heal Point-worthy win over Camden Hills, which has been ranked number one in Eastern Class B many times this season and which is the defending regional titlist, Oceanside will have to defeat Lincoln Academy at Newcastle on Tuesday, Oct. 16 in its regular-season finale if it hopes to have a shot at hosting a preliminary playoff game.
"This is something we've been building towards all year," said Oceanside coach Josh Mahar of his team's win over Camden Hills. "A consistent effort, and that's something we haven't brought all the time. We had a crisp week of practice [and] it's the most focused I've seen these guys. And it shows that first game against Camden [Hills] was not a fluke. This team is capable of playing [competitively with] anyone. If we continue to play this way, we're going to be tough [in the playoffs]."
"First half we were really slow, but in the second half I felt we made some adjustments and played much better," said Hurley. "They just didn't show up today."
"We just didn't ever seem to get anything going," the Windjammer coach said.
The Mariners played aggressive from the get-go Saturday and got on the board quickly against the Windjammers off a corner kick. Robinson served the ball into the box and the ball went through the hands of the keeper Spear and in front of the goal line to Townsend, who touched it in for the game's first goal with 36:41 remaining.
Later in the half, again off a corner kick, Robinson served the ball into the middle of the box, drawing Spear away from the goal and into a midst of 'Jammer and Mariner players.
The ball was bounding into the goal and Camden Hills' Peter Vannorsdall made a momentary save when he attempted to clear the ball, but it was intercepted by Judge, who scored near post with 15:08 remaining.
The ball did not bounce in Oceanside's favor all day, however, as Camden Hills got on the scoreboard minutes later when Vannorsdall looked to serve the ball toward the net from outside the 18-yard line and it pinballed into a host of players and straight up into the air.
Keeper Atwood attempted to make the save but the ball went through his hands, to the turf and up under the crossbar with 10:14 left in the first half.
"I've had that happen to me before," said Mahar, a former high school soccer goalie. "[The sun] gets in your eyes, there's backspin on [the ball]. You've just got to forget it and that's what he did. He's a hard worker."
"It was hard to judge," said Atwood. "After [giving up] that first goal I was pretty down, but after that I just said, 'It's a new half and a new game.' "
Vannorsdall was credited with the goal.
Despite the loss, Hurley said dropping a regular-season game — even if it is the first one for the Windjammers in several years — may not have hurt his team in the long haul.
"The teenage mind is a fickle thing," Hurley said. "You can only tell them so many times if you don't show up for games and work your hardest, you might not win. And so far we've had a bunch of games this year where we've kind of cruised and we've gotten away with not playing really well. And today we got caught on it."
In the Maine Principals' Association Heal Point Standings for Eastern Class B, Oceanside (6-6-1, 56.6964 points) is 11th, while Camden Hills (10-1-2, 111.1607 points) is second. Ellsworth (11-1, 126.2755 points is first in the 18-team region. The top 11 teams qualify for the playoffs.
Courier Publications Associate Sports Director Mark Haskell can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email at email@example.com.