BATH — Penobscot Valley packed in its defense, hoping to fend off North Yarmouth Academy’s potent attack.

It worked for a while, and the Howlers briefly led.

But NYA eventually broke through. Damon Dulac scored two second-half goals in a 96-second span to lead the Panthers to a 3-1 win in the Class D boys’ soccer state championship game Saturday night at McMann Field.

Ryan Baker also scored for NYA (16-2), which won its first state title since 2005.

NYA dominated play, outshooting the Howlers 45-2 (including a 20-1 advantage in shots on net) and earning nine corner kicks to none by Penobscot Valley (16-2).

Penobscot Valley keeper Elijah Wood made 17 saves.

“We have not seen speed like they have, 1 to 11,” Howlers Coach Jeremy Durost said.

The Howlers tried to go on quick transitions. It worked once. Their first shot, by Alex Tash, hit the crossbar, and Grant Kidson was there for the rebound, which he kicked in for a 1-0 lead at 25:24.

Those were the Howlers’ only shots.

“That was tough,” said Baker, a senior captain. “We had to settle down.”

NYA got the equalizer at 34:50. Baker took a pass from Alasdair Swett and scored with a shot to the far corner.

Dulac’s winner came on a miscommunication by the Howlers. Dulac sent in a long ball that a defender appeared ready to stop. But he stepped aside and the ball sailed past Wood.

“If you misplay anything against these guys, they’re going to capitalize,” Durost said.

The Panthers continued the pressure, and Dulac scored from 10 yards, for a 3-1 lead with 19:23 remaining.

Dulac, junior from Montreal, is a hockey player who never played organized soccer before. But NYA requires its students to play a sport each season.

“They said you have to play a sport in the fall and I said, ‘OK, I’ll play soccer.'” Dulac said.

NYA Coach Martyn Keen said he has others like Dulac. “They’re great athletes with great foot skills, but never played organized games.”

NYA’s first seven shots were taken by different players, and the Panthers kept peppering the goal, only to fall behind.

“This game has a way of keeping you humble,” Keen said. “But we had to keep taking our chances.”

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-7411 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: KevinThomasPPH

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