Editor’s note: The Sun Journal sports staff voted on the area’s top sports stories of 2023 and will be counting down the top 10 through the end of the year.

Lewiston’s Tegra Mbele celebrates after scoring the first goal of the Class A boys soccer state championship game against Deering on Nov. 11 in Oakland. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

During the 2023 season, three boys and one girls soccer team within the Sun Journal coverage area made it all the way to the state championship games in their respective classes. On the boys side, state finalists were Lewiston (Class A), Mt. Abram (Class C) and Monmouth (Class D), with all three teams winning. For the girls, it was St. Dom’s in the Class D final.

It was only the seventh time that a four-pack of Sun Journal state finalists has happened. Previously, four teams appeared in state finals in 1991, 1996, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2014. That historical significance is why the quadruple title runs made the Sun Journal’s top stories of 2023, as top story No. 5.

Starting with Class A, the Lewiston boys soccer team beat Camden Hills 1-0 during the Class A regional final game on Nov. 7. The lone goal was scored by Caden Boone, who scored off a header midway through the first half. In the state final game on Nov. 11, Lewiston beat Deering with a 3-2 overtime win. Tegra Mbele scored the game-winning goal, which was also his second of the game, with about a minute left in the first overtime session.

The overtime win clinched Lewiston’s fourth Class A state title (2015, 2017 and 2018) and the first for head coach Dan Gish. He was an assistant coach for the Blue Devils for several years, including for the first three state titles, before his head coaching gig began in 2020.

Immediately after the state championship game, the team said they “did it for the city,” as the game was just 17 days after the mass shooting in Lewiston.


“We have been saying the past few weeks, ‘Do it for the city,’” Lewiston goalie Payson Goyette said. “It feels great to win for the city and bring some good to the city.”

For Class C, Mt. Abram completed an undefeated regular season that featured 15 shutouts, and beat Traip Academy in the regional championship game, with a final score of 5-1. It was Mt. Abram’s first ever regional championship win. Head coach Darren Allen has been a part of the program for several years, first as a student and athlete himself, class of 1988.

He began coaching from 2001-2008, before taking a break from 2008-2014. He returned in 2015 and has been with the Roadrunners since. Before this year, Mt. Abram has usually been competitive, but seemingly always lost to Western Maine Conference teams in the playoffs. In recent years, that has been Waynflete, who the Roadrunners have lost to in four of the previous five postseasons, including the previous two regional finals. This year, Mt. Abram beat Waynflete in the regional semifinals at home with a final score of 3-0.

After the semifinal and regional victories, Mt. Abram continued its winning streak, beating George Stevens Academy and claiming the state title, with a fitting 1-0 shutout win.

Morgan Thibodeau, holding trophy, and his Mt. Abram teammates celebrate their Class C state championship following their 1-0 victory over George Stevens Academy on Nov. 11 in Topsham. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

Morgan Thibodeau, who was also named Sun Journal All-Region Player of the Year, scored the lone goal off a first-half corner kick, which deflected off a George Stevens Academy player and went into the goal. The Roadrunners’ state final shutout added to the already eye-popping clean sheet tally this season.

Monmouth Academy rounded out the boys soccer state final appearances, as the Mustangs beat Easton 5-3 in the Class D title game and claimed their first state championship since 2000. Head coach Joe Fletcher has coached the Mustangs since 2010, and appeared in the state final game one other time — 2016 — but lost.


Mustangs striker Brandon Smith scored his 36th goal of the season in the final game, tying Hayden Fletcher’s single-season program scoring record.

“It felt amazing — we have been working for this all four years,” Smith said of winning the state title. “The boys have had a great season, and this is a great way to finish it off in your senior year.”

Monmouth Academy goalie Ezekiel Delorme passes the Gold Ball to Patrick Strout as they rush Kyle Palleschi, right, and Luke Harmon, back, to celebrate with teammates and fans after defeating Easton High School in the Class D state championship game in Oakland on Nov. 11. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

In the regional final, Monmouth faced Richmond and beat them 4-0. Richmond was seeded No. 1 in the South, and the Bobcats’ only two losses this season were to the Mustangs.

Most impressively, Fletcher played every single kid on the team during the state championship.

“I wanted everyone to get a feel for it, and get an opportunity,” said Fletcher.

Finally, for the girls, St. Dom’s faced Penobscot Valley on Nov. 11 for the Class D state title, but lost 1-0. The lone goal was scored by Penobscot Valley’s Brooke Champion, with 6:04 left in the first half.


The Saints made it to the state final by securing the No. 1 seed in the South region and beating No. 5 Old Orchard Beach 3-1 in the regional semifinals and No. 3 Buckfield 1-0 in the Class D South final.

Members of the the St. Dominic girls soccer team celebrate after they beat Buckfield 1-0 in the Class D South final on Nov. 7 in Gardiner. Anna Chadwick/Morning Sentinel

St. Dom’s was playing in the state championship game for the first time since 2011, and head coach Jarrod Carnrick was admittedly disappointed with the final outcome.

Carnrick said he wished the team played to the forwards’ feet a bit more, despite the backline doing a good job at stepping up in front of the attackers. He also said if the Saints had gotten the ball a bit wider and played the channels a bit more, he thinks there would have been more scoring opportunities.

But he also understood the magnitude of the Saints’ appearance in the state final.

“We, as a team, more than exceeded expectations this season,” 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.”

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. 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.