OAKLAND — Brooke Champion’s goal made a champion out of Penobscot Valley in a 1-0 win over St. Dominic Academy in the Class D girls soccer state final Saturday at Messalonskee High School.

Champion scored the game’s only goal with 6:04 left in the first half, bringing the undefeated Howlers (18-0) to their first state championship win since 1986.

“That felt amazing; it felt rewarding and amazing to see everyone so excited,” Champion said. “We’ve earned this since the beginning. The seniors deserve this, they’ve worked their butt off for four years, and we’ve never made it this far. To see them winning with all of us, it’s breathtaking.”

Prior to the goal, Ellie Austin dribbled the ball to the left corner, faked around Saints goalie Anna Theriault (11 saves) — who hit the ground on the attempted save — before passing across the goal to Champion on the right side of the 18-yard box, then Champion booted the ball into the back of the net.

“I didn’t believe it, I didn’t know I did it,” Champion said. “It was all a shock, it was as shocking to me as everyone else. I was like, ‘Yeah, now I’m crying, and my seniors are crying and they’re hugging me and thanking me,’ and I’m thanking them because I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without them.”

Champion is also a senior, and has only been on the team for two years.


Saints forward Gabby Allen, had two goal scoring opportunities in the first half, in the third minute and again with 16th minute. On her first attempt, Howlers goalie Emma Potter (seven saves) dove for the save and was on the ground, but Allen’s shot went wide right. On the second chance, Allen passed to Nina Brown but put the ball too far ahead of her.

“We, as a team, more than exceeded expectations this season,” St. Dom’s coach Jarrod Carnrick said. “We look at where we started last year and where we’ve ended up this year, and we’ve definitely raised the bar on what we’re hoping to accomplish at this school.”

The Class D South champion Saints (12-4-1) were playing in a state final for the first time since 2011.

“I wish we could have just played to our forwards’ feet a bit more,” Carnrick said. “Their backline did a really good job stepping up in front of our attackers and getting on the end of those balls. If we’d just gotten the ball a bit wider, play the channels a bit more, I think we would have found some more opportunities.”

Penobscot Valley coach Jeremy Durost said the victory has been “like a natural progression,” after the Howlers lost in the Class D North final in 2021 and in the Class D state title game last year.

“I was nervous most of the game, because we knew how dangerous they are, especially No. 3 (Allen) up front,” Durost said. “We knew just they were just one breakaway away from tying up the game.”

Durost also said he knew the Saints were a strong defensive team going into the game, as they had allowed only seven goals all season. The Howlers, meanwhile, had allowed just six.

“We’ve been talking all year, our school’s got a rich soccer tradition, but it’s been since 1986 since we won a state championship,” Durost said. “The girls were holding up a (No.) 86 jersey — that’s symbolic and we use that as a reminder that that’s what we want to be.”

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