YARMOUTH — It took a little longer than the North Yarmouth Academy boys’ soccer team would have liked, but the Panthers are going back to a state championship game.

Matt Gagnon’s goal on the fifth set of penalty kicks lifted top-seeded NYA past third-seeded Temple Academy, 1-0, in the Class D South final Wednesday. The Panthers had a 4-2 advantage in penalty kicks, with keeper Julian Etauri making two diving saves.

“This means so much,” said Gagnon, a senior defender. “This team is amazing. It was a team effort. I love my team.”

NYA (15-2) will play Penobscot Valley at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at McMann Field in Bath. It will be the Panthers’ first appearance in a state final since 2010.

Temple had a 15-game winning streak snapped and finished 15-2.

It was a tightly played game with both defenses standing out. For NYA, Finn Murray, Gagnon, Xander Kostelnik and Lody Lathrop made several strong plays. For the Bereans, Nathan Riportella, Nick Blaisdell and Stevo Kruta continually turned back NYA rushes.

After 80 minutes of regulation and two 15-minute overtimes, the teams went to penalty kicks.

It was 2-2 entering the third set when Temple keeper Nathaniel Wiles stopped NYA’s Chas Rhode. But then Etauri, in his first year playing goal, dove to his right to stop a shot by Will Paradis.

“I knew I had to make a save,” said Etauri. “I was 100 percent certain we were going to score and that I needed to make that save.”

Alasdair Swett scored for NYA, beating Wiles to his right. Then Etauri made another big save, diving to his left to stop Gian Marco Rossi. The ball deflected off Etauri, straight up off the crossbar and then straight down, where Etauri grabbed it.

“It was a great kick, got lucky,” said Etauri. “I wanted to make sure after it hit the crossbar that it didn’t roll back in.”

Up stepped Gagnon, considered by NYA Coach Martyn Keen his best penalty kicker. “Coach tells us to pick a spot,” said Gagnon. “So I picked my spot and I placed it there.”

It was low to the left and just out of Wiles’ reach. Gagnon and was swarmed by his teammates.

“It’s exciting to win that way,” said Keen. “But it’s a tough way to lose.”

The Bereans were making their first appearance in a regional final. “We had a couple chances in the second overtime,” said Coach Phil Hubbard. “But I give them hats off. They group-defend well. Both teams group-defended well.”

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

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