AUBURN — Even as rain and darkness fell upon Wednesday's Western C girls' soccer final, Sadie Cole could still see daylight.
Cole, Waynflete's senior midfielder, saw an opening as a pass rolled back to her near the top of the box. All she had to do was get the ball over St. Dom's goalie Kelly Pomerleau, no small feat, as Pomerleau had already demonstrated with several leaping saves.
"Arianna (Giguere) had a really nice pass. I was just hoping for the best it was going to go in. I really thought it was going to fly over (the goal), but I got lucky," Cole said.
Cole had just enough arc to get the ball over Pomerleau and plenty of spin to get it under the post with 3:23 left in the second overtime and gave No. 4 Waynflete a stunning 2-1 victory over second-seeded St. Dom's.
Winners of their first regional title since 2008, the Flyers (11-2-4) will meet Fort Kent for the Class C state title on Saturday. Defending regional champion St. Dom's, which gave up two goals all season prior to Wednesday, ends its season at 14-2-1.
The Flyers avenged an overtime loss to St. Dom's in last year's regional final.
"I just have so many emotions," said Waynflete goalie Juliana Harwood. "To lose against this team in overtime last year and to come back and get the win here is just amazing. It's the best feeling in the world."
The Flyers have Harwood to thank for that win. The sophomore netminder stopped 15 shots, including several breakaways at point-blank range, to keep them in the game early and preserve the 1-1 tie late.
"It's seeing the shot and just reacting to it," she said. ""You need to keep your eye on the ball and know who has it at all times. Once you see the shot coming, you get set and then just react to it. There's technique to it, but it's reaction."
"We had our opportunities there, especially in the end and especially in both OTs," St. Dom's coach Kathy Little said. "Their keeper came up with some key saves which easily we could have put in and the roles could have been reversed."
St. Dom's put the pressure on quickly. Kelley McLellan's shot hit off the left post 3:30 into the game. Harwood then stopped three successive breakaways from point-blank range before Faith Grady finally broke through on one, collecting a rebound after Harwood fell while challenging her at the top of the box and booting it into a wide-open net to give the Saints a 1-0 lead at 25:51.
"I've been working on making decisions and committing to that. I don't know if that was the right decision. I don't know if it was lucky. I try not to think about that," Harwood said. "I think I might have over-shot it a bit and I don't think I got my foot fully on the ball."
Cole nearly tied it with five minutes left in the half on a header that hit the ground and bounced up and off the crossbar. Moments later, Harwood made a leaping save on Emily Caron's penalty kick to maintain the 1-0 deficit.
"They came out really strong and they're a really good team," Harwood said. "They weren't letting much through. That defense and their goalkeeper is amazing. Their forwards definitely figured out our defense early on in the game."
"I thought we came out flat," Waynflete coach Todd Dominski said. "I told the girls at halftime we're playing to go to a state championship and it looked like it was a preseason game for us out there."
The Flyers got the message and immediately pressed the Saints to start the second half. Giguere needed only 49 seconds to score the equalizer.
Waynflete kept the pressure on, putting four quality shots on goal within the first four minutes, including a penalty kick that Pomerleau (15 saves) ranged to the far right corner to haul in.
"We weren't going to let up," Cole said. "We've been really determined this year."
St. Dom's finally turned the tables midway through the half but the Waynflete defense and Harwood held. Rhiannan Jackson retreated to cut off Grady as she broke down the left side on the verge of another breakaway. With a little over two minutes left, Harwood stopped another breakaway try from point-blank range, this one by Emma Byrne, to send the game into overtime. She pulled the same trick on Byrne a minute into the second overtime.
"It's not the way that we wanted it to end, but you know, every single one of those players left it out on the field," Little said. "They played their hearts out today. They need to keep their heads high because we had a heck of a season."