TOPSHAM — The Mt. Ararat boys soccer team has been grinding out wins all season. The Eagles have been in close games in what seems to be every game, and Friday night’s Class A North preliminary round game was no different.

Sebastian Varela scored in the 22nd minute and that was all the Eagles would need as they hung on to eliminate No. 10 Hampden Academy 1-0.

“It was exciting,” said Varela of his goal. “Tonight was a total team effort, it took all of us to get this job done.”

Varela’s goal came after Mt. Ararat was awarded a corner pick. Spencer LeClair hit a beautiful cross into the middle of the six-yard box, where Varela’s right foot was waiting to put it home.

“I was with another defender and just took my chance and flung my foot out there,” he said. “It definitely was a good feeling.”

Ethan Berry of Mt. Ararat and Tate Clough of Hampden Academy, left, fight for possession during Friday’s Class A North preliminary round game at Mt. Ararat High School in Topsham. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

Jacob Fullerton made four saves to hold the shutout, but it was once again the Eagles’ defense shining. The Eagles held the Broncos to only four shots on goal.

“My defense has been the same guys for the past two or three years,” said Mt. Ararat head coach Jack Rioux following the victory. “They have good chemistry and know where they should be at all times.”

Rioux noted that the game plan was to help out Fullerton in goal as much as possible.

“We wanted to deny them the ball. Our goal was to allow as few scoring chances as we could,” said Rioux. “We had a few scares here and there, but thankfully they weren’t able to capitalize and we walked out winners.”

“I thought the team came together as a unit tonight,” said Varela. “It’s hard to beat a solid team (like Hampden Academy) twice, they played a good game.”

Mt. Ararat defeated the Broncos (3-11-1) in Hampden about two weeks ago.

The Broncos’ best chance came in the 72nd minute when Connor Parker’s shot from point-blank range sailed high and way over the net.

“We picked up a lot of momentum here tonight,” said Rioux. “The mindset coming in was to do just that, now we’ll get ready for our next opponent.”

The Eagles will move on to face No. 2 Camden Hills next week in the quarterfinals sometime early next week.

“They’re a very solid, but familiar opponent,” said Rioux. “We’ve played them tough twice this season and we know what they like to do. I know that we’re looking forward to the challenge.”

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