NEWCASTLE — The Camden Hills soccer teams did what they do best on Tuesday, Oct. 26, namely, play well enough to win playoff games; however, how the Windjammers arrived at those coveted destinations at windy, rain-soaked Lincoln Academy after they traveled much different roads.

The Windjammer boys, who played first in Tuesday’s postseason doubleheader, defeated Mount Ararat of Topsham on a late second-half goal off a set play to cap a 1-0 win in a highly-competitive, up-for-grabs affair, while the Windjammer girls dominated Hampden Academy from start to finish en route to a much easier 5-0 victory.

Camden Hills’ Evan Constantine. Photo by Ken Waltz

Thus, the second-ranked Rockport-based squads will move on to the semifinals of the Class A North playoffs in games that will be played later in the week — dates, times and venues to be determined.

That is, of course, positive news for the Windjammers, who are delighted to have gotten in a 2021 season after not being able to play out-of-school opponents in 2020 due to the pandemic. So each extra game — and victory — is cherished.

Camden Hills’ Ali Tassoni (9). Photo by Ken Waltz

Although the Windjammers certainly include strong senior players, they also have a bundle of talented youngsters who are experiencing this level of school competition for the first time.

Tuesday’s quarterfinal playoff games originally were to be played on Don Palmer Field in Rockport, but heavy rain made that impossible, so the contests were switched to the artificial turf in Newcastle.

Camden Hills’ Tessa Whitley, middle right, goes for head ball against Hampden Academy. Photo by Ken Waltz

With the win, No. 2 Camden Hills boys improved to 11-3-1 (and finished 12-4-1 overall), while No. 7 Mount Ararat finished 9-6-1. The Windjammers defeated the Eagles 4-1 and 4-2 in regular-season matches. Previously, Mount Ararat beat No. 10 Hampden Academy 1-0 in a prelim playoff game.

Camden Hills’ Sam Brownawell, left, and Eric LeBlond.

The Windjammers then beat No. 3 Brewer (9-5-2) 5-4 in the semifinals and lost to No. 5 Brunswick 2-1 in the finals.

Camden Hills’ Jackson Fitch. Photo by Ken Waltz

The No. 2 Camden Hills girls improved to 13-2 (and ended 13-3), while the No. 7 Broncos ended 6-9-1.

The Windjammers then lost to No. 3 Brunswick 2-1 in the semifinals. The Dragons eventually advanced to the state final, where they lost Windham 3-1.

Girls game

The Windjammers took control early and grabbed a 2-0 halftime advantage before they tallied three additional goals in the final 40 minutes.

Brenna Mackey scored two goals and added an assist for the Windjammers, while Leah Snyder, Sydney Stone and Ali Tassoni also netted goals. Tassoni added an assist.

Camden Hills’ Leah Snyder. Photo by Ken Waltz

“The girls played very well,” said Camden Hills coach Meredith Messer. “It was important to get the younger players through that first game. Many have never played in a playoff game in high school before. I think we were very lucky to have played last night instead of [Wednesday]. The rain held off and the players were able to stay relatively warm. I am proud of the intensity they showed and the quality of the goals we scored.”

Camden Hills’ Britta Denny. Photo by Ken Waltz

Snyder scored at 25:58 and Mackey her first goal at 12:32 of the first half. In the second half, Mackey (26:56), Stone (16:27) and Tassoni (10:36) tallied goals.

Camden Hills finished with eight shots and five corner kicks. Hampden Academy had one shot and two corner kicks.

Camden Hills’ Ella Powers, left, and Amelia Johnson. Photo by Ken Waltz

Maddy Tobanczyn played in goal for the Windjammers.

Boys game

The Windjammers and Eagles battled toe-to-toe and head-to-head for much of the 80-mintue contest, as the opponents missed multiple quality opportunities to break the scoring ice at various points.

That changed quickly in the final five minutes of the second half thanks to a well-practiced set play designed to free Cam Brown and the sophomore’s incredible nose — and foot — for the goal.

Camden Hills’ Henry Pharris. Photo by Ken Waltz

As the evenly-matched opponents scratched and clawed to try to break the scoring ice, Brown did that late in the game to give the higher-seed a hard-earned victory and push forward in the playoffs.

With 4:46 left, on a free kick just out outside the penalty area, Ben Schenk faked as if he was going to kick the stationary ball and Max Welt did, as he sent a pass inside the box just to the left of the goal and Brown hit a shot that eluded Eagle goalie Jacob Fullerton and settled inside the far post to lift the Windjammers.

“It was a fantastic game,” Brown said. “It felt amazing, to be in front of all the fans, to be in front of all my friends and score the winning goal for my team. It is all about the team and I am happy that I was the one who was able to do it.”

Camden Hills’ Ben Schenk, front. Photo by Ken Waltz

Brown said the play that made the difference in the game was something the squad had worked on for some time. “We call it the Cam iso[lation],” he said. “I was in the right place at the right time and was able to get the finish.”

When the ball rolled inside post and settled in the net, Brown said he “couldn’t believe it. I was in seventh-heaven.”

Brown said the field held up well and conditions were as good as possible given the amount of rain. He said each team had to deal with the difficult conditions, but neither let the wind, rain or slick field bother it.

Henry Pharris also turned in a strong all-around effort in goal for Camden Hills.

Camden Hills finished with 13 shots and five corner kicks and Mount Ararat 13 shots and seven corner kicks.

Veteran Windjammer coach Ryan Hurley added, “I think we showed our nerves a bit in the beginning of the game. They have a veteran team, a lot of older kids and we are pretty young, relatively. I felt it took us awhile to grow into the game. Good teams don’t let them score goals and you have got to make a big play sometime and we made the big play. And Cam did a really good job finishing off a set piece and we were fortunate enough to get the W.”

The coach said Brown “is pretty special.”

“It was good to get that one out of the way and hopefully the next one will feel a little bit easier,” Hurley said, adding Mount Ararat played extremely hard and the well-coached Eagles really gave the Windjammers a tough test. “They made things very difficult for us.”

Hurley said he expected the wind to be a factor, but it was not. “This [venue] takes field conditions out of the equation as a factor in the game,” he said of the use of the turf field as opposed to playing on a rain-soaked natural grass surface.

He said playing on turf will be good practice if his squad advances to the regional and state finals, both of which will be played on turf.