Ellsworth’s Owen Frank (left) and Cruz Coffin celebrate Frank’s game-tying goal in the second half of a high school boys’ soccer playoff game against Hermon on Oct. 22 in Ellsworth. The Eagles have won both playoff games to date in dramatic fashion with a win via penalty kicks Friday against Hermon and a double-overtime win Tuesday against Cony. LISA LANDRY-STEVENS PHOTO

Ellsworth boys’ soccer team outlasts Hermon, Cony for semifinal berth

ELLSWORTH — The Ellsworth boys’ soccer team is developing a real flair for the dramatic.

Win, lose or draw, the competitions have become nail-biters for the Eagles as of late. As the stakes get bigger with each game, neither Ellsworth, which has had six of its past seven games decided by one goal, nor its opponents are giving one another any breathing room.

“We’ve played some tough games,” Ellsworth junior Tanner Seura said. “Every team wants it more this time of year, so we show up rain or shine and know we’re going to have to fight for it.”

While the games might not be easy on Ellsworth’s players or fans, the team is finding ways to survive and advance. Now, after winning two playoff games on the very last kicks, the Eagles are just one win away from playing in their first regional final in six years.

Ellsworth advanced to the Class B North semifinals with playoff wins Friday against Hermon and Tuesday against Cony. The Eagles prevailed over the Hawks on penalty kicks after trailing for much of the game and earned a double-overtime win over the Rams to keep their season alive.

In Friday’s game, 14th-ranked Hermon (1-12-1) took a 1-0 lead over Ellsworth midway through the first half. The Hawks would lead the No. 3 Eagles for the next 46 minutes until Owen Frank made it 1-1 with 14 minutes, 39 seconds left in regulation.

With the score still knotted after regulation and two overtime periods, Ellsworth and Hermon needed penalty kicks to break the deadlock. After both teams made four of their five attempts in the first round of penalties, Kai Barrett, Kyle Kenny and Eamon MacDonald converted in the second round as the Eagles topped the Hawks 3-1.

On Tuesday, Ellsworth (11-4-1) outlasted visiting Cony 1-0 in a hard-fought regional quarterfinal battle. The Eagles controlled possession in the final third for much of the game but couldn’t find a winner until Seura belted home a firecracker with 7:42 in the second overtime period.

Silas Montigny came close twice for Ellsworth in the first half as he fired a winding shot just to the left of the post with 29 minutes left and forced a save with a well-struck volley 15 minutes later. The Eagles’ Cruz Coffin then struck the crossbar just four minutes into the second half and curled a shot just wide with 23 minutes left in regulation.

Ellsworth’s Silas Montigny battles for possession during the first half of a high school boys’ soccer playoff game against Cony on Oct. 26 in Ellsworth. The sixth-ranked Eagles (11-4-1) will face either No. 2 Winslow (15-0) or No. 7 Belfast (6-9) in the Class B North semis. ELLSWORTH AMERICAN PHOTO BY MIKE MANDELL

Ellsworth continued to boss possession in overtime but could not find the breakthrough in the first additional period. Yet midway through the second added frame, Seura collected the ball just outside the 18-yard box after a failed Cony clearance on a set piece and sent a thunderous shot to the top-left corner to send the Eagles to the semifinals.

“The wind was with us, so I knew I couldn’t shoot it too hard because it would just go straight over the net,” Seura said. “I thought it was going to hit the crossbar, but I saw the goalie jump up and didn’t see him hit it away, and that’s when I knew it was going in.”

The winds out of the northeast, as Seura noted, were a factor throughout the contest as players passing to the Pond Avenue end of Del Luce Stadium found it difficult to send long balls skyward. So, too, were the cold, rainy conditions, which intensified as the game progressed.

Although Cony (8-6-2) didn’t generate a plethora of scoring chances, the Rams made it difficult for Ellsworth to find that elusive goal. Thanks to the visitors’ quickness and instinctive defending, it took a piece of magic from Seura for the Eagles to finally find the net.

“They had really good passing, and all of their players were quite fast,” Seura said. “They seemed to beat us to the ball a few times. Our offense worked hard, but their defense did a great job, too. … It was a good game.”

Ellsworth, which will be competing in the regional semifinals for the first time since 2015, will play either second-ranked Winslow (15-0) and seventh-ranked Belfast (6-9). Those two teams are set to face one another tomorrow, Oct. 27, at Winslow High School.

With Winslow having defeated Belfast 10-0 and 7-1 already this season, a date with the Black Raiders likely awaits the Eagles. Making the long jaunt to the Augusta area will be different than playing from the confines of home, but this Ellsworth squad is eager for the opportunity.

“I wouldn’t want to be making that trip with any other group of boys,” Seura said. “We’ll get ready mentally and physically for it. I’m excited to go play them.”

Bucksport, GSA, MDI, Sumner boys earn prelim wins

Hancock County’s four other boys’ soccer teams claimed wins in their respective prelim games last week.

In Bucksport, the No. 4 Golden Bucks (13-1-1) got five goals from Evan Donnell and four from Jacob Brezovsky on Friday in a 16-0 drubbing of 13th-ranked Calais (5-9). No. 6 Sumner (7-3-1) made it two wins for Hancock County in Class C play on the afternoon with a 4-0 win over No. 11 Maine Central Institute (1-11-3) at the Peninsula School in Prospect Harbor.

Seventh-ranked George Stevens Academy had previously given Hancock County its first playoff win Wednesday when it defeated No. 10 Central (2-10-3) 6-0 in Blue Hill. Yet GSA’s season would come to an end in the Class C North quarterfinals Monday as second-ranked Fort Kent (13-2) defeated the Eagles (9-5-1) 5-0 at Fort Kent Community High School.

In Class B North, ninth-ranked Mount Desert Island snapped an eight-game winless streak Friday as goals from Ieuan Howell, Cole Watson and Corin Baker gave the Trojans a 3-0 road prelim win over No. 8 Waterville (4-10-1). No. 1 Presque Isle (12-0-1) then beat MDI (2-9-3) 1-0 in Tuesday’s Class B North quarterfinal game in Aroostook County.

Sumner will play on the road against third-ranked Mount View (15-0) at 3:30 p.m. tomorrow, Oct. 27. Bucksport, which had today’s game against No. 5 Penquis Valley (12-2-1) postponed, will face the Patriots at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 28, at Hampden Academy.

Mike Mandell

Mike Mandell

Mike Mandell is the sports editor at The Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander. He began working for The American in August 2016. You can reach him via email at [email protected]

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