WATERVILLE — It’s been five years since the Mt. Blue High School girls soccer team won a playoff game. That made the Cougars 3-1 win over Waterville in the Eastern Class A quarterfinals on Tuesday afternoon sweet. That the win came against a team the Cougars have struggled against for years made the smiles on the faces of the Mt. Blue players a little wider.
“We had to play hard all the time and our defense needed to stay focused. We had to win all 50/50 balls and I felt like we did that today,” said Mt. Blue senior forward Mackenzie Conlogue, who scored a pair of goals in the final three minutes of the first half to give her team control of the game.
“It’s been five years. This is sweet. To beat a nice program like that to get to the final four, hopefully we can continue playing well,” Mt. Blue coach Fred Conlogue said. “The biggest difference was, we capitalized on a couple mistakes that they made. The girls are very excited, obviously, to finally beat Waterville. It doesn’t happen very often.”
No. 5 Mt. Blue, now 9-5-1, will face the winner of Tuesday night’s quarterfinal between No. 8 Mt. Ararat and No. 1 Bangor on Saturday. No. 4 Waterville ends the season at 7-4-4.
“Mt. Blue outworked us by a lot. Their work rate on the field was higher than ours. They were stepping to balls,” Waterville coach Ian Wilson said. “I thought they earned the win, because they outworked us. All credit goes to Mt. Blue today.”
Conlogue’s first goal broke a 1-1 tie with 2 minutes, 53 seconds left in the first half and gave the Cougars the lead for good. Taking the ball from Eryn Doiron, Conlogue lifted a high arcing shot that was just out of the reach of Waterville goalie Gabrielle Martin and just under the crossbar.
With 1:28 left in the first half, Conlogue redirected a Chelsea Newhall corner kick with her head, pushing Mt. Blue’s lead to 3-1.
“I just know I have to get to the front post on corner kicks and I just tried to flick it in with my head. I think the goalie ended up hitting it in,” Conlogue said.
Added Coach Conlogue: “The corner kick play, we’ve worked on. That’s two games in a row we’ve scored on that.”
The Purple Panthers scored first and had a 1-0 lead with 22:22 left in the first period when Lydia Roy slid a shot into the right corner of the net past Mt. Blue keeper Gabby Foy. The Cougars answered barely over a minute later when Doiron came in on a breakaway. Martin came out to challenge and Doiron was able to get by the goalie and tap a shot into the open net for the tie.
“They had a lot of pressure on us. It wasn’t like those were their only opportunities this game. They had a lot of opportunities that they didn’t score on. It’s not as though we can sit and say, well they just put a couple on us,” Wilson said. “They outworked us all over the field. It’s not very often I can say that this team gets outworked, but we did today.”
Defensively, the Cougars did a nice job preventing the Panthers from building many sustained attacks. Throughout the game, Mt. Blue’s backs quickly worked the ball back to midfield.
“We had really solid hits in the back, which I think took away their offensive opportunities,” Coach Conlogue said.
Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242