Ellsworth boys’ soccer team falls to Erskine in Class B regional championship

first_img Taylor VorthermsSports Editor at The Ellsworth AmericanTaylor Vortherms covers sports in Hancock County. The St. Louis, Missouri native recently graduated from the Missouri School of Journalism and joined The Ellsworth American in 2013. Part 1: Invisible, incapacitating concussions are sidelining high school athletes – July 19, 2016 Latest Posts ELLSWORTH — For a loss in the Class B Northern Maine boys’ soccer championship, the mood at Del Luce Stadium didn’t seem so glum after Ellsworth fell to Erskine 2-1 on Wednesday night.Perhaps Ellsworth’s disappointment was drowned out by the hundreds of Erskine fans celebrating, or maybe it was masked by the respect both teams demonstrated for each other after the game.Or maybe it was because, as 42nd-year Ellsworth coach Brian Higgins said, advancing to another regional championship was an unexpected feat for his young Eagles squad.“Our season was much better than people expected it would be,” Higgins said. “To get back to the final again and for our young kids to experience the medal round — that’s really great.”This is placeholder textThis is placeholder textHiggins credited three under-recognized defenders, who weren’t in last year’s starting lineup, with keeping Ellsworth competitive after graduating 10 seniors this spring. That trio includes sophomore Jared Hamilton and first-year backs Trent Mahon — a junior who struggled with injuries his first two years — and Nick Bagley — a senior who split time with Ellsworth keeper Bruce St. Peter in goal before taking on a new full-time position.Erskine, the No. 10 seed, also exceeded expectations in the postseason — knocking off No. 7 Mount Desert Island, No. 2 Winslow, No. 3 Presque Isle and, finally, No. 1 Ellsworth.Ellsworth ended its season 13-3-1.Erskine (11-4) will play in its first-ever state championship on Saturday against the defending champion, Yarmouth, at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland.“Class B was a very, very tough league this year,” Higgins said. “Erskine was the best team we have played all year. We heard in the preseason that they were the team to beat, and it worked out like that.”Ellsworth’s strength all season has been scoring off set plays. But Erskine’s aggressive defense prevented the Eagles from ever capitalizing on Lukas Firestone’s flip throw-ins or Kyle Golding’s corner kicks.“We knew they were tough and they showed it today,” Higgins said. “They were very, very aggressive, won many 50-50 balls and defended our throw-ins and corner kicks very well.“And we got beat by their throw-ins.”Tristan Hubbard scored first for Erskine just four minutes into the game after redirecting a long throw-in from teammate Josh Reed into the net.Down 1-0 at halftime, Higgins said he told his Eagles that they were “in for a battle.”“‘We need to step it up and be a couple steps quicker,’” he told his team.“And, for the most part, I thought we did.”Ellsworth nearly tied the score several times in the first 24 minutes of the second half. But Luke Peabody pulled Erskine farther ahead when he broke loose and scored to give his team a 2-0 lead.With 12 minutes remaining, Ellsworth tasked junior forward Colby Clarke with taking a penalty kick — a role usually filled by senior midfielder Dagan Berenyi, who suffered a season-ending concussion in Saturday’s semifinal after colliding with Waterville’s goalie.“Dagan is our inspirational leader. We missed his aggressiveness and ‘don’t-give-up’ attitude today,” Higgins said. “But Colby stepped up.”Clarke gave Ellsworth hope when his shot landed in the left corner of the net. But the Eagles never were able to close the gap.“The best part of the whole game was the hard, fair play,” Higgins said. “There were no yellow cards. Our kids came off the field saying they were a great bunch of kids. That was really nice after the previous game.”When time expired, fans clad in blue flooded onto the field. Ellsworth and Erskine players exchanged praise and even some hugs during the awards ceremony.Afterward, Higgins grabbed the microphone and pointed out something both teams could celebrate.“Camden Hills isn’t here,” he said in jest of the powerhouse squad and Ellsworth’s longstanding rival, which got bumped up to Class A this season.The joke triggered laughter from both sides.Find more photos of this game here.PHOTO BY TIM SUELLENTROP Latest posts by Taylor Vortherms (see all)center_img Part 2: When the injury is inside your head, some “don’t get it” – July 26, 2016 Bio EHS names new boys’ soccer coach – July 13, 2016last_img