ELLSWORTH — What was supposed to be one of the biggest weeks on the Ellsworth girls’ soccer team’s schedule was instead nearly a wash.
Following confirmation Tuesday of a COVID-19 case at Ellsworth High School, the school’s fall sports calendar was dealt a major shakeup. All practices and competitions were called off Tuesday and Wednesday, and games and matches Thursday and Friday were postponed.
For the Ellsworth girls, that meant games Tuesday against Bucksport and Thursday against Mount Desert Island could not go on as planned. It also added yet another layer of uncertainty for the Eagles in a season that had already been full of it well before it even began.
“When we first heard about the COVID case and games being canceled, we were all a little freaked out,” said Ellsworth senior Sierra Andrews. “We didn’t know how that was going to affect the rest of our season.”
Fortunately for Ellsworth, the team was given the green light to go forward with Saturday morning’s game against George Stevens Academy. With the chaos of a long week finally behind it, the team made sure its return to game action didn’t come without a decisive win.
The Ellsworth girls’ soccer team resumed play Saturday with a 5-1 victory over GSA at Del Luce Stadium. The win saw the team get goals from five different players in what was a welcome experience after several days of stress and uncertainty.
After GSA’s back line kept Ellsworth (4-3) in check in the game’s early stages, Lexi Rossi opened the scoring for the home team with 24 minutes, 7 second left in the first half. The goal came as Rossi collected a pass from Andrews in the penalty area, dribbled past two defenders and slotted the ball past GSA goalkeeper Jenna Blodgett.
Seven minutes later, Addi Laslie doubled Ellsworth’s advantage with a well-placed free kick into the top-left corner. It was a goal the Ellsworth junior was confident in her ability to produce from the moment the referee awarded the team a direct kick just outside of the penalty area.
“I told myself, ‘If I don’t put this one in, I’m never taking a direct kick again,’” Laslie joked. “It was so close to the box, and I knew I could score.”
Ellsworth made it 3-0 less than 30 seconds later as Kayla Duhaime fired a shot from long range off the underside of the crossbar and into the net for her first high school goal. Andrews then made it 4-0 with 9:50 left in the half before GSA (2-3) got on the board with a goal from Clementine Bannon with 2:48 remaining in the opening period.
Although Ellsworth continued to boss the game in the second half, the home team produced just a single goal to show for it. Yet that score, which came courtesy of Abby Bland with 27:59 remaining following an assist from Andrews, was the one that impressed head coach Katye Lacasse the most.
“If I’m being truthful, that was the best goal we had today,” Lacasse said. “Sierra took on two or three players here in the box and crossed it off Abby’s chest. It was amazing; I was pretty psyched about that.”
Even with Ellsworth High School postponing Thursday and Friday’s games, the Eagles were still allowed to hold practices on those days. Ellsworth was disappointed not to be able to play Thursday’s game against rival MDI, but Andrews said the Eagles showed game-level intensity when they resumed practices that evening.
“It felt good to bring what we had to practice, especially with how we’ve had such a wild season,” Andrews said. “I think that the games are what really brings us together, and we get ready for them by bringing the energy to our practices, too.”
As a result of the postponements, Ellsworth’s season, which had been scheduled to conclude with a road game against Brewer at 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 26, has been extended by nine days. The games against MDI and Bucksport have been rescheduled for 5:15 p.m. Nov. 2 in Ellsworth and 3:30 p.m. Nov. 4 in Bucksport, respectively.
The extension of the season certainly wasn’t the plan for Ellsworth, which is unlikely to have the same glorious weather as the calendar turns to November. Yet for a group that is happy just to be back on the pitch, there will be few objections to another week together as a team.
“It’s always disappointing when you have to reschedule games, but we’re just happy [the rest of the season] didn’t get canceled,” Lacasse said. “Now, we get an extra week of practice and an extra week of the girls playing with each other, and we’re going to take advantage of it.”