High school girls soccer

'Golden, beautiful moment': What a game, finish for Panthers, Vannoy

Medomak Valley outlasts Caribou in overtime penalty kicks to advance in Class B North playoffs
By Mark Haskell | Oct 25, 2018
Photo by: Mark Haskell Medomak Valley's Cassi Smeltzer, front, and Caribou's Sage Dubay fall to the turf at Lincoln Academy on Oct. 24 during a high school girls soccer game in Newcastle. The Panthers beat the Vikings 2-1 in penalty kicks in a Class B North quarterfinal playoff game.

Newcastle — Medomak Valley freshman Annie Vannoy saw herself in familiar, yet uncharted, territory in the No. 4 Panthers’ Class B North quarterfinal playoff game with No. 5 Caribou on Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 24 on William A. Clark Field at Lincoln Academy.

After the squads battled through two 40-minute halves, two 15-minute overtimes and nearly two full rounds of penalty kicks, Vannoy stood with the ball at her feet — all other Panther and Viking field players standing at midfield in anticipation — as she sized up Caribou goalie Sage Dubay with a chance to win the game.

As an eighth-grader at Medomak Middle School, Vannoy always was her team’s top penalty kick striker. But, as a high school freshman, always deferred such an opportunity.

“When she was in middle school, she was their PK taker,” said Medomak Valley coach Bri Morrill. “And she buried every single PK. And she gets here and she’s like, ‘No, I’m not doing it. She said I don’t like the pressure.’ And I just looked at her and said, ‘I know you can do this.’ ”

Rather than put her team through a third round of penalty kicks, Vannoy booted the game-winning goal into the net past Dubay and was mobbed near midfield by her teammates as Medomak Valley emerged with a hard-fought, 2-1 victory over the Vikings.

“It was a golden moment,” said Vannoy. “It was beautiful.”

Watch video, and see more photos, below.

With the win, Medomak Valley (10-3-3), which beat No. 13 John Bapst of Bangor 5-0 in a prelim game on Saturday, Oct. 20, moves onto the semifinals, where it will travel to face No. 1 Presque Isle (12-1-2), a 3-0 quarterfinal playoff winner over No. 9 Brewer (11-5), on Saturday, Oct. 27 at 3 p.m. Gehrig Johnson Athletic Complex.

The Panthers and Wildcats do not play each other during the regular season. Medomak Valley also did not play the Witches of Brewer this fall.

Caribou saw its campaign conclude at 8-5-3.

For the Panthers, it is the first time since 2008 they have earned a berth in the semifinal round. Ten years ago, the then third-ranked Panthers lost a semifinal thriller to No. 2 Winslow 1-0 that, coincidentally, went to three rounds of penalty kicks to decide a winner.

In Wednesday's quarterfinal playoff, Sadie Cohen scored a second-half goal for Medomak Valley, while Edie Shea scored in the first half for Caribou in a game played on the artificial surface at Lincoln Academy due to recent wet conditions.

Kayla Donlin minded the net for the Panthers and made four saves, while Dubay made 11 saves in goal for the Vikings. Medomak Valley held an 8-3 advantage in corner kicks.

“Going into it we knew they were going to be a tough team,” said Morrill of the Vikings. “They always have been. I think coming into it we were prepared for that. We were ready from the get-go. We talked a lot about executing our game plan, staying tight on defense, connecting our lines and I think we did a really great job with that.”

It was a tale of two halves on Wednesday, as the Vikings had a considerable wind at their back in the first half, while the Panthers enjoyed that same wind in the second, which proved challenging for both defenses.

“We talked a lot about just being sure in the back and making sure we’re dropping with the ball,” said Morrill of playing into the wind defensively in the first half. “Clearances had to be there because with that wind, I mean, you could see when they scored their goal, that ball carried and it was a great strike by Caribou.”

That "great strike" was by Shea, who chipped a shot from outside the 18-yard line over Donlin and under the crossbar with 11:17 to go in the first half.

In the second half, the Panthers did not waste time with the equalizer as Cassi Smeltzer served a corner kick into the box that rattled between Dubay and Panther Stephanie Morse — and, ultimately, straight to Cohen — who popped home the loose ball with 33:02 left in regulation.

In the first round of penalty kicks, the Panthers went with Morse, Maddy White, Smeltzer, Cohen and Aubrey Schaeffer, while the Vikings countered with Lexi Rodriguez, Shea, Brooke Moir, Joycelyn Hartin and Willow Whitten.

The first round ended 3-3 as shots from Morse, Smeltzer and Cohen rung true for Medomak Valley, as did Robriguez, Moir and Whitten’s for Caribou.

The second round of penalty kicks typically is more precarious as teams have little time to pick five more shooters. The Vikings went with Monica McLaughlin, Alya Theriault, Kimmy Susi, Amber Moir and Dubay, while the Panthers countered with Hannah Prock, Emily Wotton, Paige Powell, Abby Lash and, of course, Vannoy.

“We had the first five, we did not have the second five,” Vannoy said. “I kind of got nominated last second. It was kind of crazy.”

The Vikings took an early 1-0 lead in the second round with McLaughlin the lone player to break through, but a make by Lash knotted the score for the Panthers and applied additional pressure for Caribou.

Dubay then fired Caribou’s final shot of the round, which culminated with a superb juggling save by Donlin.

“She’s coming on strong at the end of the season,” said Morrill of her junior keeper. “She’s really feeling more confident and comfortable in her position and the girls pepper her with shots every single day. She definitely gets a workout in practice and she’s really bought into her role in what she’s doing and she proved that today.”

That save by Donlin, ultimately, set the stage for Vannoy’s game-winning tally.

“It was a perfect situation for her,” said Morrill. “To go in there and prove to herself that she can do it. She’s been a big-time player for us this year and I can’t wait to continue to see her develop. She’s only 14, so that’s pretty awesome.”

“I don’t know how it came down to me for that last one, but I’ve never done it in [high school] practice before,” said Vannoy. “It was really stressful, but God gave me strength. It was all him. It was not me. My God is awesome and I give him all the glory for that.”

Now, the Panthers prepare for the next round, which, likely, will include a trip almost 230 miles north to face the top-ranked Wildcats. And Morrill said, for her team to head to “The County” and pull off an upset, it will rely on team defense first and foremost.

“All the way from the goalkeeper to the strikers,” said Morrill. “Staying compact as a team and when we get the chance, we have to finish and we have to take advantage of that.”

“This is the first time our team has made it this far in forever,” Vannoy said. “So we’re just really happy to be right here right now. We’ll just play the best we can.”

Caribou at Medomak Valley girls soccer
Medomak Valley hosts Caribou on Oct. 24 in high school girls soccer at Lincoln Academy in Newcastle. (Video by: Mark Haskell and Zack Miller)
Medomak Valley's Hannah Prock. In the background is official Matt Brown. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Caribou's Brooke Moir, left, and Medomak Valley's Sadie Cohen. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Medomak Valley's Hannah Prock. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Medomak Valley's Hannah Prock. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
From left, Caribou's Monica McLaughlin, Medomak Valley's Cassi Smeltzer and Caribou's Alya Theriault. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
From left, Caribou's Monica McLaughlin and Alya Theriault, and Medomak Valley's Cassi Smeltzer. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
From left, Medomak Valley's Annie Vannoy, Caribou's Sabe Dubay, Medomak Valley's Stephanie Morse and Caribou's Monica McLaughlin. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
From left, Medomak Valley's Annie Vannoy, Caribou's Sabe Dubay, Medomak Valley's Stephanie Morse and Caribou's Monica McLaughlin. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
From left, Medomak Valley's Annie Vannoy and Stephanie Morse, and Caribou's Sabe Dubay and Monica McLaughlin. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
From left, Medomak Valley's Annie Vannoy and Sadie Cohen, Caribou's Edie Shea and Medomak Valley's Abby Lash, among others. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
From left, Medomak Valley's Annie Vannoy, Caribou's Monica McLaughlin, Medomak Valley's Sadie Cohen, Caribou's Edie Shea and Medomak Valley's Abby Lash, among others. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
From left, Caribou's Alya Theriault, and Medomak Valley's Cassi Smeltzer and Maddy White. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Caribou's Alya Theriault, left, and Medomak Valley's Cassi Smeltzer. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Medomak Valley's Grace White, left, and Caribou's Alya Theriault, among another. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Medomak Valley's Cassi Smeltzer. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Medomak Valley's Cassi Smeltzer. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Medomak Valley's Abby Lash, left, and Aubrey Schaeffer, right. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Medomak Valley's Abby Lash. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Medomak Valley's Stephanie Morse. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Medomak Valley's Abby Lash. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Medomak Valley's Abby Lash. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
From left, Medomak Valley's Annie Vannoy, Caribou's Sage Dubay and Alya Theriault. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Medomak Valley's Grace White. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Medomak Valley's Grace White, left, and Caribou's Kimberlee Susi. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
From left, Caribou's Kimberlee Susi, left, and Medomak Valley's Grace White. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
From left, Caribou's Kimberlee Susi, left, and Medomak Valley's Grace White. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Medomak Valley's Annie Vannoy. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Medomak Valley's Sadie Cohen, front, and Abby Lash. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Caribou's Willow Whitten, left, and Medomak Valley's Sadie Cohen. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Medomak Valley's Abby Lash. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
From left, Caribou's Emma Hixon and Sage Dubay, Medomak Valley's Annie Vannoy and Cassi Smeltzer, and Caribou's Alya Theriault. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
From left, Caribou's Emma Hixon and Sage Dubay, Medomak Valley's Annie Vannoy and Cassi Smeltzer, and Caribou's Alya Theriault. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
From left, Caribou's Emma Hixon and Sage Dubay, Medomak Valley's Annie Vannoy and Cassi Smeltzer, and Caribou's Alya Theriault. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Caribou's Sage Dubay, left, and Medomak Valley's Cassi Smeltzer. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Caribou's Sage Dubay, left, and Medomak Valley's Cassi Smeltzer. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
From left, Medomak Valley's Abby Lash and Stephanie Morse, Caribou's Sage Dubay, Medomak Valley's Cassi Smeltzer and Caribou's Monica McLaughlin. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
From left, Medomak Valley's Stephanie Morse and Abby Lash, and Caribou's Sage Dubay. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
From left, Medomak Valley's Stephanie Morse and Abby Lash, and Caribou's Sage Dubay. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
From left, Medomak Valley's Stephanie Morse and Abby Lash, and Caribou's Sage Dubay. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
From left, Medomak Valley's Stephanie Morse and Abby Lash, and Caribou's Sage Dubay. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Medomak Valley coach Bri Morrill talks to her team. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Medomak Valley coach Bri Morrill talks to her team. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Caribou's Amber Moir, left, and Medomak Valley's Abby Lash. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Medomak Valley's Abby Lash. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Medomak Valley's Abby Lash. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Medomak Valley's Abby Lash. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Medomak Valley's Abby Lash. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Medomak Valley's Abby Lash, left, and Lizzie Swan. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
From left, Caribou's Monica McLaughlin, Medomak Valley's Lizzie Swan and Abby Lash, and Caribou's Edie Shea and Amber Moir. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
From left, Caribou's Monica McLaughlin, and Medomak Valley's Abby Lash and Lizzie Swan. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Medomak Valley's Lizzie Swan. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Medomak Valley's Lizzie Swan. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
From left, Caribou's Amber Moir and Alya Theriault, and Medomak Valley's Grace White. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Caribou's Amber Moir, left, and Medomak Valley's Grace White. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Comments (1)
Posted by: Owen Bundy | Oct 25, 2018 15:32

Great Game, Great Team!! This team never gives up. A pleasure to watch. Best of luck in your next game.




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