Sacopee Valley had established itself as the darling upstart of the Western Class C girls’ soccer tournament with three road wins against higher-seeded teams.
But Waynflete had its own streaks to keep intact.
The fifth-seeded Flyers put an end to 10th-ranked Sacopee’s defensive-minded upsets Wednesday with a 1-0 victory in the regional final.
Waynflete (14-2-2) will get a chance to repeat as state champion when it meets Orono (15-1-1) at 10 a.m. Saturday at Hampden.
Cat Johnson won it after a nifty back-flick pass from Leigh Fernandez in the 47th minute.
Waynflete is also gunning for a fifth consecutive season with a girls’ team state title to go with lacrosse in the spring of 2012, and soccer, basketball and lacrosse in 2012-13. Fernandez has been on each of the four previous title teams.
“Leigh’s really smart. She’s been here four years with me and knows how to play. She’s dynamic,” Waynflete Coach Todd Dominski said. “We’ve worked extremely hard to put ourselves in positions to be at this point and get into the state championship games. Some years you do and some years you fall short.”
In the first two minutes of the second half, the Flyers ratcheted up the offense and earned two corner kicks, both resulting in shots where Sacopee Valley’s athletic freshman goalie Madison Day (7 saves) needed to be bailed out by goal-line saves from defenders.
The goal came on another corner kick.
“We’ve been working on within the box, those pingpong balls, and trying to generate goals. Our team really tries to score on (those) plays and luckily it went through,” Johnson said.
Sacopee Valley (9-9) has eight starters who are freshmen or sophomores. The Hawks went 6-8 in the regular season but steadily progressed.
Day is fronted by Helen Ruhlin and Tayla Bradeen, and Jade Jordan at sweeper.
That group held off Waynflete in the first half. Jordan and Ruhlin repeatedly ran with and then used quickness to tackle Waynflete forwards Ella Millard and Arianna Giguere.
“They definitely dominated but we just kept going and going and going. We never gave up,” Jordan said.
What Sacopee was unable to do with consistency was win in the midfield against Fernandez and Sofia Canning.
“The second half we worked a lot harder and our passes started connecting and we were not losing this game. It was like, ‘this is amazing but we need to get to the (state championship) game,’ ” Canning said.
Waynflete held a 10-2 edge in shots on goal and also had two bids glance off the crossbar.
Sacopee’s best chance came in the 16th minute when Waynflete keeper Juliana Harwood (2 saves) was bumped to the turf after losing a race to a bouncing ball. Brooke Totman skied a shot wide and high with the goal unattended.
Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or at:[email protected]Twitter: SteveCCraig