HAMPDEN — Fort Kent defender Amanda Thibeault was running through the possible scenarios in her head as soon as Maranacook’s Grace Despres stood over her potential tying penalty kick in the 53rd minute.

“That was a little stressful. I said a little prayer when it happened,” Thibeault said. “I thought, ‘We’re done here.’ This is tied. Overtime. PKs. Somehow, she missed. I just thought, ‘Holy!'”

Thibeault’s premonitions appeared destined to become true, too, before Despres sailed her spot kick over the crossbar and Fort Kent held on over a frantic final 15 minutes to post a 1-0 win in the Class C girls soccer state final Saturday morning at Hampden Academy. It was the first state championship for the Warriors, whose current senior class had never won so much as a regional quarterfinal prior to this season.

“We’ve never panicked all season,” Fort Kent coach Doug Cyr said. “If you look at our stats, all of our losses are just by one goal — except for Presque Isle at their home. If you look at our record, you’d say ‘Oh, they have five losses.’ But all of those losses are by one.”

Senior Jacalyn Pelletier gave Fort Kent (11-5-2) the only goal it would need with a fortuitous break in the 26th minute. Evelyn St. Germain’s clearing attempt deep in her own end deflected off a Black Bear teammate to an unmarked Pelletier, who had all the time she needed to settle and strike from 15 yards away.

Maranacook (12-3-3) didn’t wilt despite conceding only its second goal of the postseason, and the Black Bears carried the play across the second half.

The best chance belonged to Despres with the penalty kick after freshman striker Emily Harper was taken down from behind by Fort Kent’s Kailee Guimond.

“Just too much power,” Despres said. “There’s not a lot else we could have done. We played with a lot of heart, and we played our best.”

It was an undeserved turn of fortune for the Maranacook captain, whose spot kick had sealed a shootout win over Traip Academy in the regional final Wednesday.

“There’s no one I’d rather have than her in that situation,” Maranacook coach Travis Magnusson said. “She’s been a leader for us all year, and she had a tremendous game.”

The Black Bears seemed emboldened by the near miss.

Harper sent a skipping cross through the 6-yard box six minutes later, but Katie Ide was unable to catch up to it at the far post. In the 60th minute, Harper — a threat throughout — cracked a bender from 30 yards out ticketed for the top corner, but she was denied by a fabulous leaping save from Fort Kent keeper Lyndsay Ouellette (five saves).

“I just saw it going and I knew I had to jump and go for it,” Ouellette said. “I had to do my best to get it, because I wanted to win this. We worked hard for this.”

“I thought it might have gone in, but she’s a really good goalie,” Harper said. “That was a great save.”

Harper missed a close-range left-footer wide a minute later. St. Germain, bumped up top from her center back spot, got in alone in the 69th minute but sent her shot straight into Ouellette.

In the final minute, Alyse Bonenfant’s cross made it into the mixer in front, but neither Harper nor Kate Mohlar could get on the end of it.

The equalizing goal, which for an hour knocked on the door, never walked into the living room for the Black Bears.

“We had a lot of chances,” Magnusson said. “We’ve had a lot of good breaks this year, but we just didn’t get them today. We got some chances but couldn’t capitalize. That’s what happens. Fort Kent did a good job with it, and their goalie made some great saves.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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