HAMPDEN – Both teams featured players who could score at any time. But for nearly 78 minutes, the score was still 0-0.

“Just keep moving the ball and take the open shots when we got them,” North Yarmouth Academy senior Serena Mower said.

That she did. Mower blasted a 25-yard shot to the right corner at 37:58 of the second half, giving the Panthers a 1-0 victory over Penobscot Valley in the Class D girls’ soccer state championship at Hampden Academy on Saturday.

NYA (15-2-1) won its second straight state championship and ninth overall (seven in Class C from 1999 to 2007).

PVHS (16-2) was making its first state appearance since 1986, when the Howlers won the third of their Class B titles.

“A great match,” NYA Coach Rick Doyon said. “We definitely had control. We moved the ball around.

“They have some dangerous players, absolutely. That’s what I was concerned about. They can finish.”

While NYA features Mower and Natalie Farrell up front, PVHS has a tall, dynamic duo in Alexis Ireland and Emily St. Cyr.

“Really strong left and right foot shots. Coach said to never leave them alone,” NYA senior defender Madison Argitis said.

The Howlers were thinking the same thing.

“We had a good game plan – mark (Mower and Ferrell) in the back, and counterattack pretty quickly,” PVHS Coach Ryan Reed said. “And we have a tough goaltender (Emily Ireland, 10 saves).”

NYA controlled most of the scoreless first half, outshooting the Howlers 9-1. But PVHS had its chances, including two through balls in the opening minutes. Goalie Carly Downey (nine saves) swallowed up one, and the defense kicked the other away.

The Panthers’ midfielders directed the play, moving the ball in transition, while stopping PVHS before it could mount a threat. Freshman midfielders Angel Huntsman and Michala Wallace were a force in the center, while Naomi Reischmann and Jasmine Huntsman took care of the wings. Defenders Argitis, Marion Robbins, Eliza Chace and Maureen Grant worked well as a unit.”

“They can read the ball really well,” Downey said. “We stayed back and then got it to our midfielders, who got it to our strikers. It worked really well.”

Both teams pressured in the second half. Alexis Ireland’s header off a corner kick was wide. NYA’s Alev Yilmaz hit the crossbar.

Downey came out often – “she has no fear,” Argitis said – and left the net open, with Ireland nearby, but the defense kicked it away at 31:30.

In the closing minutes, Mower took a shot with her right foot and it was blocked right back to her.

“Then I just, you know, tried again,” Mower said. Her left-footed shot sizzled into the net.

PVHS had a corner kick with 13 seconds left, but the Panthers kicked it away.

“It’s a good way to go out,” Argitis said. “My freshman year we had to play a JV schedule. My sophomore year, we bumped up to varsity and won one game. Now back-to-back to state champions.”


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.