BANGOR — Messalonskee continued to play the role of underdog and beat defending Class A state champion Bangor 2-0 in an Eastern Maine Class A boys soccer semifinal game Saturday.

The win was the school’s first against Bangor and lifts the sixth-ranked Eagles (12-2-2) to the regional final, where it will face No. 4 Hampden on Wednesday. No. 2 Bangor ends the season at 12-2-2.

Messalonskee coach Tom Sheridan was hoping the Eagles would get off to a good start and they did. Jarrod Simpson glanced a header inside the right post from five yards out to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead less than five minutes into the game.

“Jarrod’s goal gave us a big lift, especially since we were playing in Bangor,” Sheridan said. “Our defense was solid and came through big today.”

It was Messalonskee’s ninth shutout of the season and second in the playoffs. Messalonskee beat No. 3 Mt. Ararat 1-0 in the quarterfinals. Led by Chris Hall, Messalonskee’s rugged defense made it difficult for Bangor. Hall and teammates Kevin McCarthy, Ryan Erskine and Carl Smith forced the Rams to play balls over the top, where goalie Zach Sutherland (two saves) was more than willing to collect them.

“We knew who their scorers were and what they wanted to do,” Hall said. “We stayed compact in the back and made the plays.”

Bangor continually pressed Messalonskee with its over-the-top tactics, trying to get the ball behind the Eagles defense. Messalonskee stood firm, staying with its game plan and finishing with a 22-7 shot advantage.

“Bangor kept trying to go over the top and we kept playing the ball to the outside,” Hall said. “This win is huge for us and the program.”

Messalonskee nearly doubled its lead just before the half when Bangor goalkeeper Liam Harrigan (five saves) came rushing out of the net for a ball at the 18-yard line. Messalonskee forward Alex Shatskov beat Harrigan to the ball, slicing a shot to the left side of the goal that rolled just wide of its mark.

Bangor tried to increase the tempo of the game during the early stages of the second half but the Eagles were ready to counter. Central midfielder Wyatt Omsberg was outstanding, working with the Eagle defense to thwart the Rams’ attack.

Dropping back on numerous occasions, Omsberg was able to control the ball with a quick counterattack down the flanks, sending Messalonskee’s forwards on the offensive.

“Wyatt played a phenomenal game,” Sheridan said. “Because of the way the game was played, he found himself open in the middle and really did a great job controlling play.”

Messalonskee put the game out of reach late in the second half when Shatskov flicked a ball past the Bangor defense to Nate DelGiudice, who collected the ball, moved to his left, and drove a left-footed shot into the right corner from 15 yards for a 2-0 lead with 3:42 remaining.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.