BRUNSWICK, Maine — There were two contrasting feelings about the start of Tuesday’s Class A North girls soccer quarterfinal.
The sixth-seeded Hampden Academy Broncos were fired up, leading 3-0 less than 13 minutes in. On the other side, the third-seeded Brunswick Dragons were on their heels.
Even though Brunswick found its footing and pushed back, Hampden had everything working on this day, taking a 4-1 win to advance to the Class A North semifinals against the winner of No. 7 Edward Little and No. 2 Bangor later this weekend.
Hampden fired the first 11 shots toward the Brunswick net, getting a goal each from Abby Lord 4:52 into the half, Brianna Cota via a penalty kick less than four minutes later and Emily Colter with 27:28 left in the half.
“The only thing I wanted them to do was to start really strong, and they just wanted it today,” said Broncos first-year coach Liis Emajoe after her team improved to 7-5-3. “We had our chances and they had their chances, but we were able to finish them.”
In the opening minute of the first half, Hampden’s Ashley Mahoney found herself alone with the ball behind the Brunswick defense. Her shot sailed high of the target, but the sequence seemed to tilt the field in the Broncos’ favor. Soon, Lord, Aubra Linn, Colter, Melissa Reichel and Cota came in waves at the Dragons, forcing Brunswick goaltender Beth Labbe to make four early saves and watch two Hampden shots ring off the post.
Lord broke through off an assist from Linn for a 1-0 lead. Less than four minutes later, Colter was tripped up in the penalty area. Cota calmly scored on the penalty kick to double the lead, and Lord set up Colter for the third goal.
“We had a shaky season, played really well some games and others we don’t play as a team, and going into this game we knew if we didn’t play as a team that this would be our last game,” said Lord. “The team came together to play for the seniors. We just started out so strong.”
Brunswick began pushing back, led by Maeve Arthur, Lena Martin, Kira Wolpow and Jenna Brooks. But, Dragon shots either slipped wide, hit iron or were stopped by Hampden goaltender Eliza Eastman, who had five stops in the first half.
Over the first 25 minutes of the second frame, Brunswick earned seven consecutive corner kicks and took 10 of the first 11 shots. Arthur was stopped point-blank by Eastman, who finished with 13 saves, and the senior dove to keep a well-placed shot from Wolpow out of her cage.
Arthur put the Dragons on the board with 18:13 remaining, with an assist going to Martin. But, the rash of Brunswick opportunities wilted away, and Lord’s second goal as the Dragons pushed forward with 4:18 remaining from Reichel allowed the Broncos to begin to celebrate.
Brunswick outshot Hampden, 16-7 in the second half, to finish with a 25-22 edge. The Dragons held a 10-6 advantage in corner kicks. Labbe had 13 saves.