ORONO — A year ago, the Orono Red Riots scored a goal with just six seconds to go, nipping the George Stevens Academy Eagle girls 1-0 in an Eastern Maine Class C soccer semifinal.
An almost identical scenario unfolded on Saturday when the Red Riots snapped a 1-1 tie with a game-winning goal with 1 minute and 7 seven seconds gone in overtime, again spoiling GSA’s hopes of advancing to the Eastern Maine championship game.
Less than four minutes into Saturday’s game, the top-seeded Red Riots jumped in front of the fifth-ranked Eagles when senior Meghan Curtis punched a loose ball into the net after it was bounced around following a cross into the goal area.
Scoring opportunities were few and far between for either team through the first half, though Orono dominated play in terms of ball control for much of the period.
But the Eagles picked up the intensity in the second half, putting pressure on Orono goalkeeper Elizabeth Fox that finally paid off.
With 22:24 remaining in the period, GSA’s Stevie Theoharidis lofted a direct kick over the defense. The ball bounced out of the hands of Fox into a cluster of players in front of the goal.
Maddy Theoharidis of the Eagles got a foot on the ball and pushed it into the net to knot the score at 1-1.
And that’s the way it stayed through the remainder of regulation play.
In the overtime period, the first real scoring opportunity went Orono’s way and the Red Riots made the most of it.
Junior Rachel Balaban sent a cross into the penalty box area and the GSA defense was unable to clear it away before junior Alex Crocker pushed it past Eagle goalkeeper Hannah Van der Eb and into the net for the 2-1 Red Riot win.
“We really picked it up in the second half,” said GSA coach Steve Bemiss, “and we had a ton of opportunities.
“But you can’t expect a keeper to take care of a point blank shot like that,” he said of the winning goal.
The Eagles closed out their season with a record of 9-6-1.
The 14-2-1 Red Riots went on to defeat the second-seeded Fort Kent Warriors 1-0 on Tuesday to claim their second straight Eastern Maine Class C title.