Both times Mt. Abram and Lisbon high schools met on the girls’ soccer field this season, it was more of a clash than a contest.
The physical play crossed the line near the end of the teams’ Class C South quarterfinal matchup Wednesday afternoon at Lisbon High School.
Kaylee Knight scored what ended up being the winning goal for Mt. Abram with about 50 seconds remaining in game. As Summer Ross and a group of Mt. Abram players jogged up the field while celebrating the go-ahead goal, a Lisbon player stood in their path. When the Mt. Abram players reached her, she threw a punch at one of them.
“I just thought it was a really cheap move, to say the least,” said Melonie Ross, Summer’s mother.
It appears that not many people at the game saw the punch when it happened. That includes Melonie Ross. It was caught on video by Mt. Abram boys’ soccer coach Darren Allen, she said. Then Melonie Ross shared a short clip of it on her Facebook page at 3:33 p.m. Thursday.
“She told me about it after the game,” Melonie Ross said. “We didn’t see it during the game. She told me what had happened after the game and I was shocked. She wasn’t. She just said, ‘The girl tried to punch me,’ and I said, ‘She did? I didn’t see it. You guys won the game.’
“Until we got the video we didn’t really get the extent of it. So we were just shocked. We thought it was terrible sportsmanship.”
Allen contacted the Sun Journal on Saturday morning and said that he did not film the game, a few of his players did. Allen said he did edit the film, and he sent the clip of the punch to Mt. Abram athletic director Brian Desilets, but he did not give it to anyone else.
Summer Ross fell down while attempting to dodge the punch.
“She skimmed the side of her face,” Melonie Ross said.
Summer Ross did not retaliate, and the Lisbon player quickly retreated after the confrontation.
Melonie Ross said that the family has contacted the Lisbon Police Department.
“We’re filing. We have the paperwork to file a report against her because I think it was uncalled for and I think she should have a consequence for her action,” Melonie Ross said.
After the incident, the Lisbon player was given a yellow card.
“I don’t know that the referees fully saw it,” Mt. Abram Athletic Director Brian Desilets said. “They offered a yellow (warning) card, and I didn’t get an explanation from the officials, or anything like that. I know that they’ve seen the video, and I guess they’re reviewing it, but there’s not a whole lot that can be done at this point, from their perspective.”
The video clip is short, so it is unknown what preceded the punch or what else happened in the game.
After the game, coaches and players said nothing about the punch. Lisbon coach Jenniffer Perron did acknowledge the physical play. And both Perron and Mt. Abram co-coach Lanie Roy noted the physical play following the teams’ first meeting, a 3-0 Lisbon win on Sept. 19.
Ross said that both teams are aggressive, but there was no indication it would escalate to the level that a punch would be thrown.
Lisbon Superintendent Richard Green has seen the video and called the incident “disheartening,” and not reflective of Lisbon.
“We were aware of it shortly thereafter,” Green said. “I had people who were at the game. Again, we’re well-aware of the incident. In my opinion, it’s not an indication of what we are as a school or a community, and, you know, it’s disheartening, I guess, is the word I would use.”
Green told the Sun Journal that Lisbon High School is “formally addressing” the situation, but that he couldn’t share the details.
“As far as specifics and stuff, I can’t share details, as you know, about personnel or students, but I can assure you that we’re well-aware of it,” Green said. “What I can share with you is that I’ve contacted the (Mt. Abram) superintendent, and I’ve actually contacted the family of the girl from Mt. Abram, and I have apologized to them for the incident. But as far as being able to share what we’ve done internally, I’m not at liberty to do that.”
Green said Lisbon High School also has contacted the Maine Principals’ Association, the governing body of Maine high school sports.
Melonie Ross first saw the video clip Thursday morning. Several hours later, she decided to post it on her Facebook page.
“I toyed with it,” she said. “I just thought that it was a real dirty play. To be honest, I thought it was just real dirty. I thought it was undeserved.”
Ross added, “It really wasn’t to shame (the Lisbon player), but I have daughters myself, but I thought I would never, ever want my kids to act that way. I wouldn’t expect them to have that behavior. We play sports all through the year. We go to a lot of sporting events and I’ve never seen one where that has happened. It was shocking and I just thought that there should be accountability for her actions.”
By early Friday evening, the video had received 73,000 views, and Ross’s post had more than 300 comments.
Mt. Abram won Wednesday’s game 2-1 to advance to the next round, while the loss ended Lisbon’s season.
The Mt. Abram Roadrunners left Salem Township on a bus at 11:15 a.m. Friday to travel to their C South semifinal matchup against Traip Academy in Kittery. Mt. Abram lost Friday’s game 5-1.
Mt. Abram’s Desilets said both schools seemed ready to put the incident behind them.
“I think it’s been put to bed,” he said. “I think everything that should have been done has been done. You know, it’s sports. It’s the ugly side of sports. It happens, and people move on.”
Steve Craig of the Portland Press Herald and Wil Kramlich of the Sun Journal contributed to this report.
A Lisbon soccer player throws a punch at a Mt. Abram player after the Roadrunners scored a goal. (Video screenshot)