CA girls overpower Katahdin in D North semis
MARS HILL, Maine — All season long, the Central Aroostook girls soccer team has had little trouble pouring on the goals.
So when Panther coach Joe Levesque saw his team quickly down 1-0 in Saturday’s Class D North semifinal against Katahdin, the coach didn’t panic. No. 1 Central Aroostook (15-0-1) overcame that early deficit to notch an impressive 5-1 victory over No. 5 Katahdin Saturday afternoon.
“We stay pretty even keeled,” coach Levesque said. “It’s a testament to the type of kids they are. Whether they are up or down, I never really see them get too emotional.”
With 66 goals scored during the regular season, the Panthers have a high-scoring offense which has only gotten better in the postseason. CA trounced No. 9 Bangor Christian 10-1 in the quarterfinals.
Central Aroostook advances to the regional championship on Wednesday, against No. 2 Ashland (13-2-1). The Hornets handed the Panthers their only blemish, a 1-1 tie, when the teams met Oct. 9. Earlier in the season, Central Aroostook came away with a 5-1 win in Ashland.
In Saturday’s semifinal, Katahdin’s Erin Lake delivered the game’s first goal nine minutes into the game off a pass from Emma McNally.
Central Aroostook then received goals from Liberty Fulton and Katie Levesque to carry a 2-1 lead into the halftime break.
Levesque finished with three goals and two assists on the day, while Panther Kayla Martin also added a goal. Breanne Bradbury, Fulton, and Janelle Tweedie each had an assist.
“I think we played a good overall game,” coach Levesque said. “That’s the thing about this team. You can have a group of great athletes, but when they have the game-smarts to go with their athleticism it changes everything.”
CA goalie Olivia Blackstone had four saves on eight shots, while Katahdin’s Autumn McGraw had 13 saves on 18 shots.
Katahdin has one of the younger squads in the division, with four eighth-graders on the team, but the scrappy Cougars continued to get better as the season progressed.
“We knew coming in that this was going to be a really tough game,” Katahdin coach Shawn McAvoy said. “We just didn’t have a bench to turn to today. Hopefully, next year we will have some more kids coming up.”
Due to injuries, Katahdin came into Saturday’s game with just two players available off the bench, which made things tricky for the veteran Cougar coach as he tried to keep players fresh by rotating early and often on the field.
“The key to this game was the midfield,” McAvoy said. “I had good confidence in my defense, but we weren’t able to keep up with their (CA) midfielders to stay in the game. But I am very proud of our girls. This is the best team we have had as long as I have been coaching.”