Lakers fall to Bangor Christian in state championship
PORTLAND — Three first-half goals, including the first two in a span of 27 seconds, helped propel the Bangor Christian School to a 4-1 victory over Greenville High School in the 2016 Class D boys soccer championship on Nov. 5 at Fitzpatrick Stadium. The win concluded a perfect season for the 18-0 Patriots, who swept fellow Penobscot Valley Conference member Greenville in both regular season meetings by winning 5-0 in Bangor nd 3-1 in Piscataquis County.
“We knew we had to probably play our best to compete with them,” Greenville head coach Jeffrey Richards said. “This is the third time this year, we know what they are capable of. They triangle the pass well, they trap well, they move without the ball well — all those things that make a champion — so there was no surprise coming in that’s what they were going to do. We just hoped that we would be able to contain them a little better than we did.”
Bangor Christian senior Tyler Welch’s unassisted goal put the Patriots on the scoreboard at the 25:19-mark of the opening half. Twenty seven seconds later Welch fed junior Erik Gorczok with a crossing pass from the left for goal No. 2.
“I was afraid of that coming down that we would not realize the pace of this game is completely different than anything that they have seen before,” Richards said about the two-goal outburst in Greenville’s first game of the year played on artificial turf. “We watched a little film from the last time that we were here in 2012, the same thing and in 2011 the same thing. I tried to give them a feel for how quickly things happen out there.”
The combination of Welch and Gorczok would lead to a third Bangor Christian goal with just over seven and a minutes remaining in the opening half as Gorczok got loose on a breakaway after taking the pass from Welch.
“He’s going to make things happen when you give him space and we just got a little flat,” Richards said about Welch. “They came at us pretty hard, they’re a talented team.”
The play on the pitch took a turn when Greenville got on the scoreboard late in the second half. Junior Nick Foley passed to classmate Connor DiAngelo who sprinted around a defender and down the field for a one-on-one play with Patriot junior keeper Austin Keib.
Keib dove to make the play but DiAngelo dribbled around the prone keeper and put the ball in to make the game 3-1 with 14:26 to go.
The momentum shifted back to Bangor Christian four and a minutes later as Welch ran down the left side of the field and kicked the ball into the left corner of the Laker net — he would score and assist on all four goal Patriot goals.
“If we’re going to be able to compete with these guys we do have to take advantage when we have the pressure on them and we can’t get those opportunities and let them slide by because they’re going to come back at you and transition quickly and if you’re not ready they’re going to get by you,” Richards said.
The state championship was the sixth in eight years for the Patriots, and seventh in the last 12 years. Bangor Christian won five straight Class D crowns from 2009-13, which included defeating Greenville in 2011 and 2012. In addition to the three berths in the state championship in the last half dozen years, Laker boys soccer also advanced to the title game in 1995.
Greenville ended the year with a record of 11-6-1, having won six of seven heading into Saturday’s contest including knocking off Class D South top seed Richmond on the road in the second round of penalty kicks to win the regional title three days prior.
“It’s a young group, we only had two seniors out there, and I think they’re going to learn a big lesson from this and hopefully come back with a better idea of what to expect,” Richards said. “I think we’ll be back.”
The team finished the regular season in sixth place in the Class D South Heal Point Standings, and defeated No. 3 Buckfield High School in the quarterfinals and then avoided an upset at the hands of 10th seed Rangeley High School in the semifinal round.
“They didn’t feel like a sixth seed, they felt a little stronger than that,” Richards said.
Among the 16 boys and girls soccer teams playing on state championship Saturday, the other 15 were all seeded first, second or third in the respective regions.
Greenville team personnel includes seniors Traj MacFadyen, Robert Mello and Matt Mendes; juniors Evan Bjork, Connor DiAngelo, Nick Foley, Anthony Mason, Noah Pratt and Parker Richards; sophomores Ben Baldwin, Doug Kane, Alec Oelshlegal and Noah Stolz; freshmen Noah Bilodeau, Chris Caiazzo, Camden Harmon, Aubrey Kronholm, Jack Morehouse and Drew Worster; managers Jose Silva-Johnston and Emily Vraux, coach Bill Foley and head coach Jeffrey Richards.
NON-COVETED HARDWARE — Accepting the Class D boys soccer runner-up plaque on Saturday in Portland are Greenville junior captains, from left, Anthony Mason, Nick Foley, Connor DiAngelo and Noah Pratt. The Lakers fell 4-1 to the Bangor Christian School, the third meeting between the two programs in the Class D state championship in the last six years — the Patriots also got past Greenville in 2011 and 2012.