GARDINER — The St. Dominic Academy girls soccer team clinched the Class D South final win Tuesday by beating Buckfield 1-0, sending the Saints to the state championship game for the first time since 2011.

“I’ve always wanted to go to states,” St. Dom’s goalie Anna Theriault said. “I just never really thought it would be possible, and now that we’re going it’s huge, it’s like our chance.”

The Saints advance to the Class D title game where they will face Northern champ Penobscot Valley (17-0) on Saturday at Messalonskee High School in Oakland.

“I can’t believe we’re going to states, and one goal won it all for us,” St. Dom’s forward Gabby Allen said. “It’s like history, basically — no one ever goes this far at St. Dom’s, so it’s crazy to think about.”

Tuesday’s game had a slow offensive start, and the first shot on goal, which was taken by St. Dom’s (12-3-1), did not happen until 7:30 into the first half.

The teams battled back and forth in the rain for much of the opening half.


The first-seeded Saints did have a good scoring chance near the end of the half. A shot by Allen was saved by Bucks (10-6) goalie Kianna Finnegan, but Allen regained possession off the rebound and crossed the ball to Chloe Croteau, who had an empty goal in front of her, but the pass was a little too far ahead of her.

Allen scored the game’s lone goal 6:07 into the second half when she took control of the ball on the left-hand side of the 18-yard box and dribbled around Buckfield defenders towards the middle and fired a shot into the lower right corner of the goal.

Allen said she found success by utilizing her speed to get through gaps in the Bucks defense.

St. Dom’s had four more shots on goal in the second half, but did not score again.

Bucks coach Larry Thornton said he was proud of his team’s fight for the entire 90 minutes, despite the disappointing result.

“I’m proud of the way we played,” Thornton said. “We have never been here before. They absolutely battled 100%, right to the very end. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”


He also said he felt the Bucks carried the play in the first half, and that they weren’t surprised when the Saints came out more aggressive after halftime.

“The ball was skipping around a bit because of the weather and the wet, and I think that didn’t help either team,” Thornton said. “(Our strategy) wasn’t to come out and play defensive (after the half), if anything we were trying to get a little more offensive than we played them in the past.”

St. Dom’s defeated Buckfield twice during the regular season, on Sept. 30 and Oct. 6, both times by 3-0 scores.

The Bucks’ offense almost scored on a shot by Cori Merrill, which hit the top crossbar and rebounded out.

“It was a good shot and it was a good follow by Kai (Trenoweth),” Thornton said. “Unfortunate that didn’t go in from her foot.”

St. Dom’s coach Jarrod Carnrick said Buckfield is a tough team to beat, and the game was “definitely a battle that could have gone either way.”


“If it wasn’t us, I’m glad that it would have been them,” Carnrick said. “Buckfield, solid team this year.”

Carnrick said halftime readjustments were key to securing the victory.

“Reorganized our shape a little bit and firmed up a couple of roles that different players had,” Carnrick said. “Once we got that understanding down, finally got the ball where we needed it to go and to Gabby, and she did what she’s done all season and just put her home.”

Carnrick said the wet conditions made ball handling challenging due to extra skips, but the Saints were able to readjust and battled for 50-50 balls.

“We’re all happy, excited, we haven’t been in this position for probably a decade at the school, so credit to the players, I’m real happy for them,” Carnrick, in his second year coaching St. Dom’s, said.

He said the difference between this year’s and last year’s team, which went 2-10-2, is the effort and attitude the players brought to the season.

“Especially from the halfway point of the season onward, every game is just like all right, here we go, reset, we’re going again, let’s try and get the result,” Carnrick said. “It just kind of kept happening, so it’s a much better attitude this year, compared to last year, and everyone feels it.”

The regional title is St. Dom’s first in Class D South. They won the Western C title in 2011, then lost to Central 2-1 in the state final.

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