WATERVILLE — For one half of soccer, the Waterville girls soccer team appeared in trouble.

But the Purple Panthers regrouped, remembered who they were and responded accordingly.

Tied 1-1 at halftime, Waterville scored six goals in 24 minutes to pull away with a 7-1 win over Caribou in an Eastern B quarterfinal game Wednesday at Webber Field.

“We were just talking about things we could work on, just give and go’s down the middle,” Waterville’s Lydia Roy said. “Pilar (Elias) and I could really do those and switch things up.”

The strategy worked. Roy led Waterville — the No. 1 seed — with three goals, while Elias and Fotini Shanos each added a pair.

The Purple Panthers (15-0-0) will host No. 5 Camden Hills at 3 p.m. Friday in the semifinals, also at Webber Field. No. 8 Caribou finished the season 9-6-1.

Caribou put pressure on Waterville from the start, keeping the ball on the Purple Panther side of the field. But Waterville tallied the first goal 13 minutes into the game, when Roy had and converted an open shot right in front of the net for a 1-0 lead.

Waterville kept the offensive pressure on, but the Vikings were able to turn each attack away. Caribou made the most of its only offensive attack, with an assist from Waterville. With eight minutes remaining in the half, Caribou’s Gabrielle Marquis sent a high, hanging shot toward Waterville goalkeeper Gabi Martin, who waited to catch the ball like a kick returner in football. However, teammate Sabrina Carey, following the ball and not seeing Martin, collided into Martin, allowing the ball to trickle into the net for a goal and a 1-1 tie.

“Our coaches had scouted them; we knew that they played in the middle,” Roy said. “We knew that it put a lot of pressure on our center-mids. We practiced to try to figure that out, but clearly we could have done a little bit more. That first half really helped us figure things out.”

The Purple Panthers, who had not allowed a goal during the regular season, were now in unfamiliar territory.

“We’re top seed so there’s some pressure on our shoulders,” Waterville coach Ian Wilson said. “We were just kind of uptight and everybody was amped up, rushing everything. We just took some deep breaths and we just talked about possessing the ball a little bit, playing our game, we’ll be fine. I think everybody just needed to take some deep breaths, calm down and we were fine after that.”

Waterville did collect its breath and it paid off. Within the first three minutes of the half, Elias tallied her first goal of the game that gave the Purple Panthers a 2-1 lead. She added her second goal five minutes later, taking an excellent pass from Brooke Ettinger to set up an open shot in front of the net and a 3-1 lead. Roy and Shanos added goals within a minute of each other to quickly extend the lead to 5-1.

Shanos added her second goal with 24 minutes remaining, when she pounced on a rebound off an Amy Swanson shot. Roy added her third and final goal eight minutes later to finish off the scoring.

“We played as hard as we could in the first half,” Caribou coach Todd Albert said. “Obviously, we were focusing on defense and with the defense being in front of us, it was easy for us as coaches to say who has who. In the second half, once (Waterville) got that first one, the momentum kind of rolled and kept going. We let down, they picked it up. It kind of went from there. Our kids battled as hard as they could in the first half.”

Waterville outshot Caribou 17-2, including an 11-1 advantage in the second half alone. Vikings goalkeeper Morgan Outing made seven saves.

The Purple Panthers have just a 48-hour window before Friday’s semifinal, but were able to start the resting process late in Wednesday’s game, bringing in reserves during the final minutes of play.

“We’re just kind of fortunate we didn’t come out too dinged up today,” Wilson said. “The last 20 minutes, I was able to rest some kids, too, which was kind of a luxury with that explosion in the first part of the second half.”

Dave Dyer — 621-5639

[email protected]

Twitter: @Dave_Dyer


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