WATERVILLE — Hall-Dale’s first loss of the season was also its last.

Rojay Richards headed home a bounding ball with under 15 minutes remaining, lifting the No. 4 Maranacook boys soccer team to a 2-1 win over top-seeded and previously unbeaten Hall-Dale in a Class C South semifinal on Friday night at Thomas College. The loss was the first for Hall-Dale since it lost to Maranacook at the end of the 2018 season, also in the regional semifinals.

The Black Bears (13-2-1) advanced to the regional finals for third straight season. They will face reigning Class C state champion Waynflete there Tuesday in Lewiston.

Maranacook’s Brady Stockwell, right, points to the crowd after the Black Bears went up 1-0 over Hall-Dale in a Class C South semifinal game Friday night at Thomas College in Waterville. Morning Sentinel photo by Michael G. Seamans

The Flyers beat Traip 2-0 in the other semifinal Friday.

The winning Richards goal came in the 66th minute, the decisive answer to a Bulldog equalizer only 13 minutes earlier.

“I saw the ball, I saw the defenders had missed it, and I saw my chance,” said Richards, who’d had little room to maneuver for most of the evening. “I was really surprised. I thought (Hall-Dale) was going to get there.”

“They’re learning and we’re getting better every day. That’s important,” Maranacook coach Don Beckwith said. “That’s why we’re here. I think we’re better than we were three weeks ago, by a lot. We work so hard during the season, we expect to lose some games because we’re worn out. But we got those 10 days (off after the regular season), and now we’re ready to make the run.”

Andrew Dupuy, who had made his first appearance of the night as a substitute just moments before, sent a lofted cross into the 18-yard box from only a few paces inside midfield. The ball’s flight froze Hall-Dale keeper Sam Sheaffer at the top of his 6-yard area, while Richards followed the play all the way to its completion — retreating over back-marking Hall-Dale defenders to head it in for the late lead.

“It’s a really tough way to end his season,” Hall-Dale coach Jesse Rowe said. “He had such a strong year, but he misjudged one bounce and that’s it.”

Hall-Dale (14-1-1) didn’t find another scoring chance after falling behind a second time.

A counter-attack down the left flank produced the Bulldogs’ tying goal relatively early in the second half.

Camden Adams beat his marker out of the corner and crossed to a running Josh Nadeau, and the Hall-Dale senior nodded it home in the 53rd minute to make it 1-1.

It was the only shot attempt of the second half for Hall-Dale.

“We had someone on (Nadeau) the whole time and we just tried to take him out of the play, just to make them change something,” Beckwith said. “I thought that was effective.”

“They played a guy deep the whole game, and that neutralizes (leading goal scorer Akira Warren),” Rowe said. “The physicality that we played against today is different — it’s really tough when you go in as a No. 1 seed and you play in (the Mountain Valley Conference) that doesn’t see this kind of physicality and then you play a Western Conference or a KVAC team that does see it all the time.”

Not only has Maranacook — which was whistled for 18 fouls against Hall-Dale’s eight — seen physical games, but they’ve also seen tight playoff games over their decade run as a perennial Class C powerhouse.

“I lost my mark on that goal,” said Maranacook midfielder Carter McPhedran, who was tasked with man-marking Nadeau throughout. “That hurt a lot. I just tried to let that go and rely on that experience that we have that we can get through it.

“It’s like (Beckwith) has been saying. We had a week off before postseason, and we’ve been working really hard getting fit. That’s why we were able to give it 80 minutes.”

Near the end of the first half, the field slowly tilted toward Sheaffer (eight saves), ending with Brady Stockwell’s goal in the 32nd minute. Stockwell stepped into a soft clearing attempt following a deep Maranacook throw-in to put the Black Bears up 1-0 all the way into the break.

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