Shires fall short in quest for Class C North regional soccer crown
PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Hopes of hoisting a regional soccer championship were dashed for the Houlton/Greater Houlton Christian Academy girls Wednesday evening.
The No. 3 Shires ran into a fierce opponent in top-ranked, and defending regional champ, Bucksport, but gave the Golden Bucks all they could handle.
Bucksport defeated Houlton/GHCA, 2-1, in a well-played game at Presque Isle Middle School.
The Golden Bucks (17-0 overall) advance to the state Class C championship for the second straight year with the victory. Bucksport will face C South champ Maranacook for the state championship Saturday at Hampden Academy.
In Wednesday night’s regional championship, played at the Gehrig Johnson Field, Bucksport had one of its toughest games of the season against a scrappy Houlton-GHCA squad.
“I told the Houlton coach after tonight’s game that they did an outstanding job prepping for us,” Bucksport coach Mike Garcelon said. “They gave us every bit of competition that we could have asked for. My hat’s off to them.”
Garcelon said starting quickly was a focus for his squad after the long bus ride north.
Coming into the championship game, the Golden Bucks outscored opponents 12-2 in the postseason and scored a whopping 129 goals during the regular season, while only allowing three.
“We really wanted to get off to a fast start tonight,” he said.
Goals proved to be much more difficult to come by Wednesday evening against the Shires, but they did come early. Senior Allie Pickering gave Bucksport a 1-0 lead with 23:54 to play in the first half on a well-placed goal to the lower left corner of the net.
The Shires quickly countered, however, tying the game at 1-1 as junior Amelia Callnan took a pass from freshman Mylee Sylvia and sent a high arcing shot that Bucksport keeper Jetta Shook initially made a play on. But the ball slipped backward out of her hands after she leapt into the air and bounced into the net giving Houlton the tying goal.
Bucksport junior Lilly Chiavelli produced what turned out to be the game-winning goal after taking a pass from junior Sam Cyr with 17:43 to play in the first half for the 2-1 lead.
Houlton had several scoring opportunities in the second half, but the Bucksport defense proved difficult to penetrate.
“We played a great game, and had a number of chances, especially in the first half,” Houlton coach Marina Cameron said.
The Shires were also dealt a blow early in the first half when one of its key defenders, Alexandria Collins, was injured and unable to return.
“She took a hard hit to the head and couldn’t return so we had to make a few adjustments,” Cameron said. “We dropped Ella [McCarthy] back into a defensive position and she played a heck of a game for us. We just came up one goal short.”
No. 3 Houlton/Greater Houlton Christian Academy ends its season with a 16-1 overall record.