Undermanned Windjammers prevail in overtime against Black RaidersSenior Weferling uses his head to help lead Camden Hills to regional finals
Rockport — Being without five starters, including its two top goal scorers and keeper, things admittedly looked bleak for the Camden Hills boys soccer team Saturday afternoon, Oct. 27 as the No. 2 Windjammers hosted No. 3 Winslow in an Eastern Class B semifinal playoff game on Don Palmer Field.
The Windjammers, who already had senior Trueman Moore sidelined for remainder of the year with a knee injury, also were without offensive threats Kienan Brown and Peter Vannorsdall, along with sweeper Bill Bracher and keeper Marshall Spear, all of whom recently suffered concussions.
Facing that difficult scenario, Camden Hills coach Ryan Hurley looked for a few fresh faces to respond, and that is exactly what he got. In this case, the Windjammers' depth and overall talent paid huge dividends.
With the score tied 1-1 in overtime of Saturday's semifinal playoff game against the Black Raiders, senior Patrick Wefeling headed in a cross from teammate Alex Blackwell with about five minutes remaining to give Camden Hills a thrilling 2-1 victory.
The win propelled the Windjammers (13-1-2) into the regional finals for the third straight season under coach Hurley's leadership. Camden Hills will travel to face top-seeded Ellsworth (15-1) on Wednesday, Oct. 31 at 5 p.m., for the Eastern Class B title. The Windjammers and Eagles do not face each other during the regular season.
Ellsworth defeated No. 4 Caribou 2-0 in another semifinal playoff game on Oct. 27 to advance.
Camden Hills advanced to the state Class B championship game last year and lost to Ellsworth in the regional final two seasons ago.
On Saturday in Rockport, Winslow took a 1-0 lead when Taylor Roy scored with 23:36 left in the 40-minute first half, but Windjammer Grayson Szumilas scored his third goal of the postseason with 27:25 left in regulation to tie the score for the hosts.
Backup keeper Adam Throne made three saves on four shots for Camden Hills, while Alex Berard made 11 saves on 25 shots in net for Winslow. The ‘Jammers led 5-0 in corner kicks.
“This was the most fun I’ve ever had coaching a game,” said Hurley. “It was amazing. [The players] did everything we asked them to do. Alex Blohm kept [Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B player of the year] Gabe Smith out of the game completely. [Smith] pretty much didn’t do anything " due to Blohm's defensive effort.
Hurley was particularly happy for Weferling, who’s older brother, Jimmy, was one of the most prolific offensive players in recent years for Camden Hills.
“I told [Weferling] that was a better goal than his brother ever scored,” said Hurley, who believes it may have been Weferling’s first career varsity goal.
“I was so excited for him. He’s been doing pretty good in practice all year and he’s finally getting the opportunity to step up in a big situation. He’s an emotional leader for us and I just couldn’t be prouder of him," the coach said.
It is unknown whether Vannorsdall, Brown, Spear or Bracher will return for the regional final, the coach said.
Roy put Winslow ahead 1-0 in the first half when he dribbled across the 18-yard line and hit a hard ball to the back left corner of the net, while Szumilas tied the score on a cross that went off Berard’s hands and into the net.
That set up Weferling’s heroics, which started with Colin Morse’s patient play up the left sideline as he dribbled the ball into Black Raider territory.
Morse laid the ball back to an open Blackwell, who made a terrific cross to Weferling, who “soared through the air” and headed it past Berard for the game-winner.
Camden Hills and Winslow had played to a scoreless, double-overtime tie during a regular-season game.
Camden Hills now must prepare for the Eagles, who ousted the Windjammers in the regional final two years ago. Ellsworth is coached by Brian Higgins, who has more than 500 career coaching victories and multiple state championships to his credit.
“We’re going to have to take care of balls in the air, limit their opportunities and try to possess the ball,” said Hurley of Wednesday's game against Ellsworth. “If we can do all that we should do well. But they’re very athletic at every position, so it should be a tough game.”
Courier Publications Associate Sports Director Mark Haskell can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.