Camden Hills boys slip past Brewer in regional semifinals

Fri, 10/29/2021 - 9:15pm

ROCKPORT — The Camden Hills varsity boys soccer team dominated the Northern Maine Class A semifinal contest Friday, Oct. 29 early, and survived a furious Brewer comeback to claim a hard fought 5-4 victory over the Witches on Don Palmer Field in Rockport.

The field conditions on the natural grass surface were deemed good enough to play on but there was still plenty of slipping and sliding to make things interesting on a beautiful, uncharacteristically warm, fall day.

Brewer struck first in the 10th minute when Joshua Schneider finished a Colby Smith assist putting the Witches up 1-0.

Camden Hills' freshman connection showed their chemistry yet again this season when Charlie Pons served a ball into the box and Roan Aldridge-Peacock deftly headed the ball into the back of the net to knot the score at 1-1 in the 24th minute.

The 'Jammers started pouring on the pressure at this point and Quinn Riordan would play a lofted through-ball to a streaking Cam Brown, who beat the Witches keeper to the ball and firmly head the ball 15 yards on a line into the back of the net.

A mere minute later, Max Welt served up a beauty of a corner kick that Lucas Moody would slam home with a fierce header.

The 'Jammers entered the halftime break up 3-1.

Three minutes into the second half, Ben Schenk played Brown in and Brown volleyed home his second goal of the game.

In the 57th minute, Welt stroked a free kick from 30 yards that tickled the twine of the upper corner of the net. The 'Jammers found themselves up 5-1 at this point, with 23 minutes to play, and seemingly in control of the game.

But in the playoffs, it isn’t over until it's over, and the 'Jammers almost learned this the hard way.

The Witches were gifted a penalty kick in the 62nd minute which Andrew Hodgins finished well to the keeper’s left to bring the score to 5-2.

Then Brady Saunders caught the 'Jammers on their heels with a transition strike from 30 yards that beat Pharris over the top and settled into the net to bring things to 5-3.

Smelling blood, Brewer again picked up a ball just outside the 18 after two Windjammers slipped and collided, Matt Smith took the ball and buried it into the net. At 5-4 with nine minutes to play, the game was a tense affair until the final whistle.

In the end, the Windjammers hung on for the win and for a road trip to Messalonskee High School on Wednesday, Nov. 3 at 6:30 p.m. for the Northern Maine Class A regional final against a Brunswick team that upset No. 1 seed Lewiston.

The Windjammers held the edge in shots 22-7 while corner kicks were even at five a piece. Henry Pharris made two saves for the 'Jammers and Grady Vanedistine made six saves for the Witches.

What a game! We played so well in the first half and into the first ten or fifteen minutes of the second half before things turned against us. Brewer came at us hard and I was really proud of how we handled ourselves today.

We scored some great goals and the boys put in an amazing effort. Our goal at the beginning of the year was to get to the Northern Maine final and we are there so we are really pleased.

We are a relatively young and inexperienced squad and we are learning lessons all the time, today we realized yet again you can't take your foot off the gas in a playoff game no matter what the score is. This was an awesome way for our seniors to celebrate their last game on Don Palmer and our whole community couldn't be more proud of these boys. Go 'Jammers!

Ryan Hurley is the coach of the Camden Hills boys soccer team.