THOMASTON — There is an age-old adage that states an athletic coach, at any level, wants his/her team to peak at exactly the right time for the most important events, namely, the playoffs.

In the fall of 2021, Rene Dorr has realized that tried-and-true plan perfectly and, in turn, the lollipops the veteran Oceanside girls soccer coach enjoys on the sideline of games certainly taste a bit sweeter in this postseason.

Oceanside’s Audrey Mackie. Photo by Ken Waltz

That is because, after winning only two of 14 regular-season high school pitch contests, the overall young Mariners have grabbed two Class B North playoff victories to advance to the regional semifinals.

The latest postseason win came on a glorious fall day when the No. 12 Mariners edged No. 13 Caribou 2-1 on Thursday afternoon, Oct. 28 on sun-splashed Sam Pendleton Field.

“We knew going in this year it was going to be kind of a rebuilding year,” Dorr said. “We’ve got some younger kids and I’m super proud of how they’ve been playing and they’re starting to reach their potential at the right time.”

Oceanside’s Sienna Geretz. Photo by Ken Waltz

With the team’s latest win, the Mariners (4-13) advance to the semifinals, where lost to No. 1 Hermon (16-0) 6-0 on Saturday, Oct. 30 on the turf field at William S. Cohen Middle School in Bangor.

The especially talented Hawks also beat No. 8 Nokomis of Newport 12-0 and No. 10 Mount Desert Island 10-0 in the north playoffs, before the lost to Cape Elizabeth 3-0 in the state final.

Oceanside did not play Hermon during the regular season.

Oceanside’s Sara White (8), among Caribou defenders. Photo by Ken Waltz

Against the Vikings, who made the four-and-a-half-hour, 245-mile trip from Caribou to Thomaston to play Thursday’s game, the Mariners tallied a goal in each half to outlast the visitors from Aroostook County.

And stepping up in a key moment was freshman Sara White, who converted Sienna Geretz’ assist, at 28:07 of the second half for the decisive goal.

Oceanside’s Jillian Barnard. Photo by Ken Waltz

Ava Philbrook converted a penalty kick at 30:18 of the first half to give Oceanside a 1-0 advantage. That goal held until late in the 40-minute opening frame as Viking Saffayia Durepo tallied the equalizer, off an assist from Selena Savage.

Goalies Jillian Barnard (Oceanside) and Amelia Godin (Caribou) played well in net. Additionally, Abby Waterman provided stability as an anchor on defense for the host Mariners.

It certainly did not matter to Oceanside or Caribou (3-12-1) they had been ranked lower in the regional standings and did not secure many regular-season wins. They were delighted to play in the open tournament and, along the way, upset higher-seeded opponents earlier in the playoffs.

The Mariners and Vikings battled toe-to-toe on Thursday as the hosts came out on top.

“We knew going in it was going to be a tough game,” Dorr said. “Evenly matched up and we thought we’d match up pretty well with them. It was a tough-fought game. We got a score, they got a score, we went back-and-forth for a while and then Sara got that goal and that gave the kids enough spark to finish it off.”

Earlier in the postseason, Oceanside beat No. 5 Waterville 1-0 in an epic playoff encounter that included two overtimes and penalty kicks. Also, Caribou bested No. 4 Winslow 2-0 to advance to the quarterfinals.

The Mariners did not play Waterville or Caribou during the regular season, but split with Winslow — winning 3-1 and losing 4-3.

“We’re going to have to play tough and physical and the girls are going to have to play the kind of game we’ve been trying to play all season,” he said of the Mariners trip to face Hermon. “Get to the ball first and play physical. They’re undefeated and they’ve got a 100-goal scorer on the team. But if we play like a team and not rely on one or two players to do the work, we’ve got a chance just like anyone else.”