Mount Desert Island’s Sabine Costello-Sanders (left) and Lelia Weir show off the Class B North runner-up plaque following the Northern Maine championship game against Hermon on Nov. 3 at Hampden Academy. MDI’s improbable playoff run came to an end with a 6-0 loss to the undefeated Hawks. MAY CHAN PHOTO

MDI girls’ improbable run ends in Class B North title game

HAMPDEN — A remarkable run through the Northern Maine field has come to an end for the Mount Desert Island girls’ soccer team.

MDI fell to a 6-0 loss in Wednesday’s Class B North championship game against unbeaten Hermon at Hampden Academy. The result marked the conclusion of a playoff run that saw the Trojans earn road upsets of three higher-ranked teams.

Top-ranked Hermon (17-0) struck first in the matchup when 100-goal scorer Sydney Gallop found the net after eight minutes. The Trojans then found themselves down 4-0 with just 17:49 to go in the half after long-range strikes from the Hawks’ Ally Cameron and Madison Higgins and a second goal from Gallop.

No. 10 MDI (7-11) held Hermon for the remainder of the first half to keep the score at 4-0 entering the break. The Hawks than got a pair of second-half goals from Lyndsee Reed to round out the scoring and repeat as Class B North champions.

Mount Desert Island’s Lelia Weir battles Hermon’s Sydney Gallop for the ball during the first half of the Class B North girls’ soccer championship game Nov. 3 at Hampden Academy. Tenth-ranked MDI (7-11) was making its first appearance in a regional final since 1997. ELLSWORTH AMERICAN PHOTO BY MIKE MANDELL

Whereas Hermon had been widely tipped to reach Wednesday’s Northern Maine final, MDI’s appearance in the game was rather unexpected. As the No. 10 team in the 15-team Class B North tournament, the Trojans had to win three straight games as an underdog to earn the right to play for a title.

“I told the girls [going into the playoffs], ‘No matter what the result of these games are, we’re not going to get outworked,’” MDI head coach May Chan said. “Even though it was their home field, it was our game. They wanted to keep on playing, and they just took it one game at a time.”

MDI did so by beating Belfast 3-0 in the prelims, knocking off No. 2 Old Town 1-0 in the quarterfinals and stunning rival Ellsworth 1-0 in the semis. In doing so, the 2021 Trojans became the first MDI team to reach a regional title game since 1997, when the Trojans won the state championship.

The Trojans’ playoff run was the culmination of major growth throughout the 2021 season. MDI followed a 1-6 mark in September with wins in its next 10 games, a span that included victories over Old Town, Ellsworth, Foxcroft and Presque Isle teams that had beaten Chan’s squad earlier in the year.

“We were here for a reason,” Chan said. “We didn’t get here by accident. The improvement we’ve had from Day 1 until now is night and day. It’s easy to give up and quit when you have a tough start like we did, but these girls didn’t do that; they kept fighting and kept playing for each other.”

The loss to Hermon marked the end of the line for MDI seniors Bella Brown, Avary Bryer, Sabine Costello-Sanders, Olivia Gray, Kaleena Higgins, Hannah St. Amand, Claire Sanner, Addy Smith, Sadie Sullivan and Lelia Weir. Many of those seniors were part of two deep playoff runs, the first of which came when the Trojans went 13-3 and made it to the regional semifinals in 2019.

The Class B championship game will be between Hermon and Class B South champion and No. 1 seed Cape Elizabeth (16-1) at 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 6, at Massabesic High School in Waterboro. That game will be a rematch of the 2019 state final, which Cape won 4-0.

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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