Medomak Valley takes long trip to season-ending disappointmentFive hours from home, 'overachieving' Panthers fall to Caribou in prelim playoff
Caribou — After a five-hour bus ride to Aroostook County Oct. 19, the prize at the end of the road was not exactly what the Medomak Valley girls soccer team had hoped, as the lengthy trek ended in disappointment.
At the end of that road, the No. 9 Panthers (8-5-2) suffered a 4-0 loss to No. 8 Caribou (9-5-1) in an Eastern Class B preliminary round playoff game.
Oliver Sleeper and Katlynn Tardie both tallied two goals to key the Vikings to the victory.
Caribou goalie Morgan Outing made 13 saves and Panther keeper Amanda Hendrickson-Belloguet 16 stops.
Veteran Panther coach Larry Jensen said the score was not indicative of the closeness or tone of the hard-fought game.
"As has been the story line all year [for us] we needed to finish and put the ball in the back of the net," Jensen said. "It was offense versus defense. The first half was pretty much a stalemate."
With 43 seconds left in the opening half, Tardie dribbled through two Panther defenders and struck the ball to the lower right-hand post, as the ball hit the post and ended in the net.
"The first half was back and forth with Medomak Valley having four or five real good scoring bids [that went] high, wide or at the goalie.
The second half started with Medomak Valley controlling play for the first 15 minutes but continuing to come up short and being a bit unlucky on scoring the tying goal, which "again [was] our season in a nutshell," Jensen said.
The hosts took a 2-0 lead when Sleeper gathered the ball outside the 18-yard line and beat a defender one-on-one and hit ball into upper right corner of the net. Jensen said that second goal took the wind out of Medomak Valley's sails and that on the first two Caribou goals, Panther goalie Hendrickson-Belloguet could do nothing to prevent them.
Seven minutes later, Tardie, who had an outstanding game, Jensen said, made it 3-0 when she dribbled through the defense and scored in the lower left corner.
With 10 minutes left, in a sign of "outstanding sportsmanship" by the Caribou coach, who pulled seven of his starters, Jensen said, MVHS, in turn, showed the same sportsmanship.
"It was an outstanding game and overachieving season for Medomak Valley girls soccer," Jensen said. "We fought through injuries, adversity and unlucky breaks. The girls kept focused and fought hard all season — a true testament to them, family, school [and] community."'
Jensen said he was proud of the players commitment and effort this season.
Caribou will advance to play at No. 1 Presque Isle (13-1) in an all-Aroostook County quarterfinal playoff game next week.
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