BUCKSPORT — The Hancock County high school soccer season is over following Thursday’s girls’ game between Ellsworth and Bucksport and the cancellations of two remaining contests.
Ellsworth and Bucksport played would be the final game of the 2020 campaign in a 2-2 draw at Bucksport High School. Mount Desert Island then called off its remaining games against Ellsworth after administrators expressed concerns over an increase in COVID-19 cases in the area.
Ellsworth (5-3-1) took an early lead in Thursday’s game against Bucksport as Addi Laslie threaded a long through ball to Sierra Andrews for the opening goal less than 10 minutes into the game. Ten minutes later, Ella Hosford scored for Bucksport to tie the game at a goal apiece.
Bucksport (8-1-1) took the lead with 26 minutes, 54 seconds left in the contest when Natasha Monreal pounced on a loose ball in the box and bundled it home for the go-ahead goal. Yet after Andrews was brought down in the penalty area with 15:44 remaining, the senior stepped up and converted the spot kick to salvage a draw for Ellsworth.
With its two goals, Ellsworth became the first team since Deer Isle-Stonington on Oct. 6 to score against the Golden Bucks. Bucksport had gone five games without conceding a goal, a feat head coach Mike Garcelon attributed to the team’s fluidity at both ends of the pitch.
“We’ve learned to play defense and offense as an 11-person group,” Garcelon said. “That five-game streak without allowing a goal was really a testament to that. The girls stepped up and started shutting people down.”
The result was a stark shift from Bucksport’s 7-1 loss to Ellsworth in the Golden Bucks’ second game of the season early last month. Garcelon said his team was much more organized and mentally prepared than it was in that contest, which proved to be the team’s only loss.
In finishing off an impressive 8-1-1 season, Bucksport showed the continued progress Garcelon expected after returning the vast majority of the roster from last year’s 11-5 campaign. The team’s head coach lamented not being able to participate in the playoffs, but he was pleased with his team’s perseverance in the face of a challenging schedule and the uncertainties that the season presented.
“We played tough games against teams like Ellsworth and MDI, and it speaks volumes that we could hang with them,” Garcelon said. “I think our coaching staff really was able to get the girls into the right mindset and focus them on enjoying the moment.”
Although Ellsworth had been set to resume play with a matchup Friday against MDI, that game was canceled along with the boys’ game between the Eagles and Trojans that had been scheduled for Monday. MDI’s decision to call off its remaining soccer games followed a four-day stretch that saw a total of 22 new COVID-19 cases reported in Hancock County.
“I sincerely apologize to the Ellsworth [administration], players and coaches for this decision along with the MDI coaches, athletes, parents and the community,” MDI Athletic Director Bunky Dow said. “This was not an easy decision but a decision made for the safety of the players, coaches, family members and community.”
The cancellation of Monday’s boys’ game means the Trojans will finish the campaign with a 7-0 record. The undefeated season will go down as a notable achievement for an MDI team that found its success despite not having a single senior on the roster.
“The proudest I am of the program is to have achieved this result with the group of boys who were committed to the MDI soccer program,” head coach Tyler Frank said. “The entire team has stepped up to fill the leadership void, and I now have juniors with senior leadership experience going into next year.”
The Ellsworth boys’ team finished with a 4-2-3 record. The MDI girls’ team concluded the season 2-5.