BATH — The Richmond girls soccer team hung with a veteran Washburn club for the better part of 80 minutes during Saturday’s Class D state championship soccer game. But in the end, experience won out.

Carsyn Koch and Kirsten Sarmiento scored second-half goals to lift the Eastern Maine champion Beavers to a 2-1 victory and their first ever soccer state championship. Sophomore Kelsea Anair scored for the Bobcats shortly after the Beavers went up 2-0 on Sarmiento’s goal with just over 10 minutes left to play but it wasn’t enough. The loss ends a run of three state championships for Richmond, which finishes at 16-2-0.

“We have worked incredibly hard to get where we are,” Koch said. “And after last year, it just brought me to tears.”

The same two teams met in last year’s final with Richmond coming away with a 2-1 victory decided by penalty kicks. But these weren’t the same players, at least for the Bobcats.

“We told the girls they were going to have a mountain to climb,” Richmond coach Troy Kendrick said. “They brought back eight starters, we lost eight starters.”

Richmond played a strong first half and missed a couple of good scoring chances, the first when Anair’s header went just wide and the second when freshman Cassidy Harriman booted the ball wide of an open net. The Beavers had their chances, too, but couldn’t get anything past junior keeper Kelsie Obi, who made six saves including a beauty against Joan Overman when she came way out of her goal to smother a partial breakaway. Early in the second half, senior sweeper Haley Murphy made a defensive save of a hard shot after Obi had been pulled out of position after making the initial save.

“(Obi) went to get it out and none of the defense was back,” Murphy said. “They went to shoot it and I was somehow in the goalmouth. I don’t know how I got there.”

Koch, who last week won her fourth straight individual Class C cross country championship, broke the scoring ice when she took a crossing pass from Mackenzie Worcester and hit a shot into the left corner from the top of the penalty circle.

“It was a tussle and Kenzie passed it in and I kicked it with my left foot the best I could and it went in,” Koch said.

Sarmiento put the Beavers up 2-0 when she took a cross from Carmen Bragg and drilled a shot at Obi who got her hands on the ball before it dribbled over the goal line. Thirty seconds later, Anair cut the lead in half when she took a pass from Meranda Martin and headed it into the left corner of the goal past keeper Taylor Howe.

Obi finished with nine saves on 23 Washburn shots while Howe made three on 10 Richmond shots.

“I thought we played them evenly for the first half and created some great scoring chances,” Kendrick said. “I thought they were a little bigger and stronger than us.”

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638[email protected]Twitter: @GaryHawkinsKJ

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