WINSLOW — It was nearly the best of times for the Winslow boys soccer team Saturday.

The second-seeded Black Raiders played the possession-based game that best suits them, enjoyed an influential performance from senior captain Spencer Miranda in the center of the park and scored a 3-0 win over No. 3 Medomak Valley in a Class B North semifinal at Kennebec Savings Bank Field. The solid top-to-bottom win for unbeaten Winslow catapulted the Black Raiders (15-0-1) into the regional finals for the first time since 2007.

The only thing that could have made the day any better would have been a Gold Ball waiting at the end of it.

“I think we’re playing with a little bit of a chip on our shoulder. We know anything can happen in these playoff games, and we don’t want to stop playing,” said junior striker Jake Warn, who scored two goals less than a minute apart in the first half that helped send Winslow on its way to victory. “We’re a close group of boys, and we don’t want to end the season now.”

Miranda sealed the victory with his goal in the 76th minute, though the central midfielder had long since left his stamp on the match before adding his name to the scoresheet.

“That’s something we talked about after the last game, that we can look to pass a little more,” Winslow head coach Aaron Wolfe said. “At times, if one team is more of a direct team and boots it up a lot, we can fall into the trap. We can control it more than that. I think when we settle it down, we do a much better job creating more chances.”


“We knew we had to play our game in order to come out with the win,” Miranda said. “We tried to make it a point of emphasis to really get the ball through the middle and possess it and play our game.”

While the game itself got off to a clunky start, bogging itself down along the left touchline for the better part of 10 minutes, things opened up in cold drizzle with a Mike Wildes run up the pitch to set up a free kick 40 yards from goal. Miranda took the kick and put it on goal, creating a scrum in front of Medomak goalkeeper Cameron Robinson (20 saves) that eventually produced nothing.

From there, things opened up for Warn and company.

In the 15th minute, Nick Tiner served a ball far post against the grain that the Panthers could not clear, leaving Warn to finish it with a leaping header.

Almost as soon as the ball was kicked forward to begin play again following the first goal, Warn went streaking in one-on-one with Robinson and rolled his bid in easily for a 2-0 lead in the 16th minute.

“It defintely boosted our confidence,” Warn said of having the two-goal lead. “We tried to stay composed and still play our game. We can’t led a lead (dictate) how we play.”


Warn now has four goals through two playoff games, having scored twice in the quarterfinal round against Mt. Desert Island.

“The good thing is Jake’s not the only one we have,” Wolfe said. “Teams focus on him, but if they focus on him, we’ve got other guys that can score. If they want to choose to mark him up, that just opens it up for someone else. If they don’t, he’s going to exploit that. Either way, it’s good for us.”

Credit Medomak Valley (12-3-1), however, with not packing it up and beginning the trip home early. The Panthers produced some of their best play before the first half was through, generating five of their six shots in the half over the final 20 minutes and forcing Winslow keeper Jake Lapierre (eight saves) busy.

Unable to pull one back before the half, the Panthers fought an uphill battle in a physical second half that produced five yellow cards, nearly six minutes of stoppage time and Miranda’s clinching goal.

Winslow will play the winner of No. 1 John Bapst and No. 4 Presque Isle in the Class B North final Wednesday. Those teams play Monday.

“We haven’t been to the regional finals in nine years,” Miranda said, “so this win means a lot.”

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