HAMPDEN — Anyone who hadn’t seen Ian Lee was interested to watch the Madawaska senior, who scored 38 goals this season on his way to a state-record 127 for his career.
But in the Class C boys’ soccer state final Saturday, it wasn’t so much that Maranacook shut down Lee; the Black Bears shut down the whole Madawaska team.
Except for the final 20 minutes of the first half, Maranacook dominated and came away with a 2-0 victory, and the school’s first boys’ soccer state title.
Alex Tooth and Kodey Solmitz had the goals, but just as much credit goes to Chris Beckwith, who marked Lee in the first half, and Taylor Wilbur, who shadowed Lee in the second.
“The idea was we go with strength and physical in the first half, then we go with speed and lay off him,” Maranacook Coach Don Beckwith said. “That’s Wilbur. He’s the fastest kid on the team and we’re pretty good defensively, anyway.”
Maranacook (16-0-2) nearly took a 1-0 lead after 1:30, but Madawaska goalkeeper Tim Deschenes made a leaping bat-away save of Nick Lacasse’s direct kick from 35 yards. But four minutes later, the Owls left Tooth uncovered on a throw-in, and he picked up a loose ball and scored with 34:31 left in the half.
“Tyler Lang had the ball; it just dribbled off him,” Tooth said. “I knew we weren’t going to get that many chances — defenders are big for Madawaska — so I just turned on it and let it rip, hoping to get the best out of it.”
After being clearly outplayed for 20 minutes, Madawaska (16-2) made its move.
Jake Gendreau had his shot from about 20 yards fly over the crossbar, and the Owls got an even better chance with about 20 seconds to go in the half. The ball went off Maranacook keeper Brad Worster, then off the feet of a Maranacook defender facing the net. Wilbur was on the goal line and booted the ball away.
Just 5:05 after the break, Solmitz picked up the ball on the left side and his shot caromed in for a 2-0 lead.
“Every team wants this,” Tooth said. “It’s the goal all year. Coach came into the corner and let us hear it. We obviously let it go at the end of the first half, and we just needed to come back and spit the fire.”