The Traip Academy Rangers celebrate tying the game at one with Monmouth Academy in second half of a rain soaked game in Readfield onThursday. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)

KENTS HILL — If you’re going to travel 110 miles to play soccer in the rain, you might as well go home wet and happy.

That was the case for seventh-seeded Traip Academy of Kittery, which upset No. 2 Monmouth 2-1 in a Class C South quarterfinal matchup Thursday on the turf at Kents Hill School.

Traip (10-4-1) will play the winner of the Lisbon-Hall-Dale game in a semifinal Saturday while Monmouth closes its season at 12-1-2.

Freshman reserve Devon LaRoche scored both goals for the Rangers, the second following a dramatic three-way collision involving LaRoche, Monmouth defender Nick Dovinsky and goalkeeper Brad Neal with 9:32 seconds left to play.

The play began when a ball was chipped into the Monmouth end leaving Dovinsky, LaRoche and eventually Neal in a race for the ball.

All three converged on the ball near the top of the penalty circle at the same time.


“Me and No. 5 were kind of arguing the whole game so my adrenaline was really high,” LaRoche said. “All that was going through me mind was I need to beat this guy. I found an opportunity and I just tapped it and it went into the goal.”

Monmouth coach Joe Fletcher wasn’t sure what exactly happened as he watched Neal go down and stay on the ground for a minute after the collision.

“My goalie came out hard and he was still in the box because he was calling for it,” Fletcher said. “There was some contact. I don’t know who initiated it, but it’s unfortunate.”

The Mustangs played without striker Avery Pomerleau (31 goals this season), who missed the game because of an accumulation of yellow cards.

“We had three different players rotate in (for him) and they gave me what they could give me,” Fletcher said. “But Avery Pomerleau’s one of the best players in all of Maine.”

The Kents Hill turf held up well despite a steady rain that sometimes came down hard. The Rangers employed a short-passing ball-control style while the Mustangs often ran onto long passes.


“They’re a well coached team and extremely physical and I think our guys were a little taken aback at first,” Traip coach Michael MacLeay said. “When they scored they obviously went a little more defensive and our guys kind of took the opportunity and went with it.”

Monmouth senior Cody Roy scored 2:98 into the second half when he knocked a rebound past Rangers keeper Jayce Nelson (seven saves). With just under 10 minutes gone in the second half, LaRoche evened the score during a penalty corner when he drilled a shot off Hunter Sawtelle’s entry pass. Neal (four saves) initially made a fine diving save.

“The goalie got it and it just rolled in,” LaRoche said.

Nelson made a couple of strong saves, including a 1-on-1 stop of Nick Camire’s point blank shot with just over 17 minutes left to play.

“It was nice to be on the turf,” MacLeay said. “I wish it wasn’t raining but this definitely makes the bus ride home a little more fun.”

Monmouth players sat on the field in stunned silence for several minutes following the loss.

“Our season was fantastic,” Fletcher said. “That’s the first loss in our regular season. This senior group is 57-8 now for four years which is pretty impressive considering eight years ago we were on the verge of collapsing.”

Monmouth Academy’s Nicholas Dovinsky continues to move the ball up field as Traip Academy’s Frankie Driscoll, who misses a slide tackle during a rain soaked game at Kents Hill School in Readfield on Thursday. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)Traip Academy’s Ricardo Vino (5) tries to stop a pass by Monmouth Academy’s Gabriel F. Martin during a rain-soaked game at Kents Hill School on Thursday.

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