Wildcats to meet Hermon in rematch of last year’s final

Richard Ezzy, Special to The Star-Herald, Special to The County
12 years ago

    PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The top-ranked Presque Isle Lady Wildcats combined relentless offensive pressure with a shut-down defensive effort to get by the No. 4-ranked Winslow Black Raiders, 5-1, in an Eastern Maine Class B soccer semifinal played Saturday at the Gehrig T. Johnson Athletic Complex.

    Presque Isle opened the scoring only seven minutes into the game when a long cross from Emma Kinney was headed by Megan Ireland to the feet of Jordi Lagasse, who knocked the ball into the net. Winslow evened the game with 7:17 remaining in the first half when Alliyah Veilleux drilled a 40-yard direct kick over the outstretched arms of Presque Isle goalie Meredith Stewart.

    Winslow’s lead was short-lived, as Ireland headed home a corner kick from Hannah Graham to recapture the lead with 2:42 remaining in the first half.

    “That’s right after they scored to tie the game,” said PI coach Ralph Michaud. “[Megan’s goal] gave us a little momentum going into halftime.”

    In the second half, Presque Isle controlled the play for much of the half, with Winslow only mustering three second-half shots.

    “We just wore them down,” Michaud said. “We are a pretty deep team, and we just kept the pressure on the whole time.”

    Presque Isle scored its third goal at the 30:48 mark of the second half when Taylor Williams took a drop pass from Chandler Guerrette and lofted a kick over Winslow goalie Hillary Libby. Less than three minutes later, Guerrette took a feed from Ireland and scored from the top of the penalty box. Guerrette closed out the scoring with 18:41 remaining when she drilled in a Graham corner kick that had been knocked down by Libby.

    Guerrette’s goals were her 19th and 20th of the season, and her assist extended her school career record to 35.

    Libby saved 18 of 24 Wildcat shots and Stewart finished with eight saves on 10 Black Raider shots. Michaud also highlighted the effort shutting down Winslow’s leading scorer, Veilleux.

     “I thought the combination of Emma Bartlett and Krystal Kingsbury did a tremendous job on her. She’s got 50-something career goals, and they did a superb job.”

    Winslow ended its season with a 12-3-1 record.

    Last Tuesday, Guerrette netted the game-winning goal in overtime to give PI a 2-1 home victory over eighth-seeded Caribou. The Wildcats actually trailed with less than 27 minutes to play, but Williams scored on a header off a Graham corner to tie the game. Guerrette’s clinching goal came with 12:07 left in the first overtime period.

    Presque Isle’s victories gives them a 15-1 record and sends them into the Eastern Maine Class B final, where they will host the second-ranked Hermon Hawks.

    The Hawks handed the Wildcats their only loss of the season at an early-season game in Hermon, with PI winning the rematch in Presque Isle. Coach Michaud and his team are ready for the rubber match.

    “This is why you fight for home field advantage,” said the veteran coach. “They have to come up here and play us on our turf.”

    Today’s game is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m.  The winner moves on to the state championship game Saturday.