BANGOR CHRISTIAN striker Brandon Messer (5, top photo) takes a tumble after tangling with Richmond’s Cody Tribbett (14) during the State Class D boys high school soccer championship at McMann Field in Bath. In the bottom photo, Richmond defender Sean Bernier (5) sends the ball away from Patriots midfielder Joshua Palmeter. The teams battled through 120 minutes of soccer, tied 1-1, with Bangor Christian winning the Gold Ball in penalty kicks, 4-2.

BANGOR CHRISTIAN striker Brandon Messer (5, top photo) takes a tumble after tangling with Richmond’s Cody Tribbett (14) during the State Class D boys high school soccer championship at McMann Field in Bath. In the bottom photo, Richmond defender Sean Bernier (5) sends the ball away from Patriots midfielder Joshua Palmeter. The teams battled through 120 minutes of soccer, tied 1-1, with Bangor Christian winning the Gold Ball in penalty kicks, 4-2.

BATH

 

 

There are times in sports where if the powers that be decided that co-champions were to be crowned after a hard battle, few would complain.

Such was the case Saturday night in the State Class D Boys Soccer Championship at McMann Field in Bath, as Western champ Richmond battled four-time defending and undefeated Bangor Christian through 80 minutes of regulation and another 30 of sudden-death overtime, deadlocked at 1-1.

Both teams had their chances, with the Patriots holding a slim 22-20 shots advantage and each squad attempting seven corner kicks.

In the end, penalty kicks decided things, with the Patriots (19-0) winning 4-2 for a 2-1 victory and their fifth consecutive Class D title, while the Bobcats (13-3- 2) had to settle for runnersup for the sixth time since 2005, three of those losses coming against Bangor Christian.

A tough call

The game turned late in regulation. Richmond had claimed a 1-0 lead after Bangor Christian starting goaltender Bryon Boutot was whistled for handling the ball outside the penalty area with his hands. Richmond quickly set up for a direct kick, with senior Nate Tribbett’s hard shot beating the Bangor Christian wall and Boutot with 16:24 remaining in regulation.

Bangor Christian charged forward for the tie. Both teams played physical soccer, with few whistles slowing things down.

As the clock ticked down to under one minute, Patriots senior forward Jay Bishop tangled with a Bobcats defender and tumbled inside the penalty area. The referee called a foul, awarding Bangor Christian a penalty kick. Bishop calmly stepped up amid all the pressure, along with deafening silence, and beat Richmond senior goaltender Dustin Sullivan inside the left post to tie the contest with 52 seconds remaining.

“It’s just hard to see the kids work so hard and a game is decided by a call coming from the middle of the field, especially when there was a lot let go,” said Richmond coach Joe Scribellito.

“We had to keep calm and just play our game like we had all season, but the last few seconds things got a bit antsy and the call went against us,” said Sullivan, who made 11 saves. “All season we wanted this, and once we scored that goal it was our dream coming true. Then we give up the tying goal after a tough call, and again we had to come together, calm down and go back out and play good soccer.”

Richmond regathered itself in overtime and dominated the two 15-minute overtime periods. Bangor Christian backup goaltender Caleb Peary, who relieved Boutot with 11 minutes remaining in regulation, made three key stops in the extra periods, including a point-blank offering by Bobcats forward Jon Simmons with two minutes remaining in the second overtime. Sullivan’s best stop in overtime came on a shot by Brandon Messer, while Ben Miller watched two opportunities rocket wide of the target.

“They knew what they were up against and what it would take, and they left it all out on the field. I am so proud of them,” said Scribellito. “This is the first time for many of these kids at this stage, with few memories of previous state championship games, and after about 20 minutes they realized that they could play with Bangor Christian and just came together.”

“We came out well, but got away from possessing the ball like we normally do, and Richmond had more speed than we anticipated and got us out of our comfort zone.” said Bangor Christian coach Aaron Wilcox. “We knew that we were going to play a very good team, the No. 1 and 2 defenses in Class D, and I just hoped our experience and composure would pay off. There were mistakes by both teams on the goals, and both teams just kept coming.”

In penalty kicks, Bangor Christian’s Kyle Holmes gave the Patriots a 1-0 lead. After Sam Lorbeski missed high of the cage on his first attempt, Sullivan kept his team in it with a diving stop of Messer.

“Penalty kicks are just like flipping a coin, and there is not much you can do about a perfect shot,” said Sullivan. “The ball hit the post after it hit my hand and came right back to me.”

Boutot, who returned to the net for PKs, made a save on Sean Bernier to keep his team in the lead.

Seth Pearson and Zac Palmeter scored on Bangor Christian’s next two shots, with Cameron Emmons and Sullivan answering for Richmond.

Again, Bishop had a chance to make a difference, and his shot found the back of the net to end it and continue the Patriots’ reign on Class D boys soccer.

“We just never give up and keep going,” said Bishop. “I just wanted to put the shot into the back of the net. I just tried to clear my mind and put it where I wanted to put it. I knew that their goalie was good, but I made the right shot.”

Wilcox talked about his goalie switch in regulation.

“The goalie I brought in from the bench started and won the state title as a sophomore,” said Wilcox of Peary, who had four saves. “As a junior, he lost the starting position, but came in after an injury and won states again. We had swapped all season, and I would bring Boutot out to give us some energy in the midfield and we did that tonight. It worked out for us.”

“This is unbelievable and hard to describe,” said Bishop after lifting his fourth Gold Ball along with fellow seniors Palmeter, Messer, Kyle Holmes, Ben Miller, Peary, Tucker Rice, Cody Collins, Hunter Cotton and Boutot. “This and last year’s titles (a 1-0 Bangor Christian win over Greenville) were the hardest ones to win. This year, all the way to PKs, back and forth for 120 minutes! It was a hard game to win.”

Sullivan summed up the Richmond season.

“It was an incredible season. Once we lost to NYA (5-0 on Sept. 24), we realized that we had to work and we did that throughout the rest of the year,” said the goaltender.

Richmond seniors Sullivan, Nate Tribbett, Bernier, Lorbeski, Edoardo Valenti, Simmons and Colin Acord played their final game. Defensively, Bernier, Curtis Anderson and Tyler Soucy played well in keeping dangerous Bangor Christian strikers Holmes, Rice and long throw-in specialist Collins contained, while Richmond midfielders Cameron Emmons, Brendan Emmons, Marcus Blake and Mike Stewart played well.

Bangor Christian 2,
Richmond 1

Penalty kicks (Patriots won 4-2)
State Class D Championship
At McMann Field in Bath
BangorChristian—01001—2
Richmond— 01000—1
Goals — (R) Nate Tribbett; (BC) Jay
Bishop (PK).
Shots — Bangor Christian 22, Richmond 20
Saves — (BC) Bryon Boutot 6, Caleb
Peary 4; (R) Dustin Sullivan 11.
Penalty kicks — Bangor Christian 7,
Richmond 7.
Records — Bangor Christian 19-0,
Richmond 13-3-2.


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