WATERVILLE — As one of the oldest sports cliches in the world goes, it doesn’t matter how. It only matters how many.

The second-seeded Waterville girls soccer team rallied back from its first two-goal deficit of the entire season Saturday night, finishing off the comeback with a Golden Goal from Paige St. Pierre 12 minutes into extra time in a stunning 3-2 win over No. 3 Mt. Desert Island in a Class B North semifinal. With the victory, the Purple Panthers (15-1-0) will meet No. 1 Hermon in a rematch of the 2016 regional final Wednesday night at Hampden Academy.

“Yes, but you don’t really know,” St. Pierre said of whether she felt Waterville had the edge after scoring twice in the second half to force the overtime period. “Anything can happen. That’s kind of the game of soccer.”

And weird things certainly did happen Saturday night.

Less than half an hour after the opening whistle, MDI (13-3-0) became the first team to score on Waterville in five games dating back to Oct. 8 and the first team to crack the Panthers twice in regulation time this entire season.

Only Maranacook, which needed overtime in a win over the Panthers in the third game of the season back on Sept. 13, previously scored more than once on Waterville this fall.


Senior striker Daisy Granholm had a goal and an assist in a five-minute span late in the first half to help the Trojans set sail with a 2-nil lead they took into the halftime break, popping a goal under the crossbar and then piercing the Panther back line to set up Zoe Olson in the 29th minute.

Yet, Waterville was never flustered.

“It was kind of unexpected,” Waterville center back Emme Ayers said. “But I think we knew we could come back. We just had to play our game. They always tried to get it to (Granholm), and we tried to shut that down better in the second half.

“The good thing about this team, we don’t get too in our heads.”

The comeback for Waterville came via two goals that were eerily similar to one another and — given the team’s ability to play an aesthetically pleasing game for the most part all season — were eye-catching for a different reason Saturday.

They were both kind of ugly.


“The way the game sorted out, it put a lot of pressure on their backs,” Waterville coach Mark Serdjenian said. “I felt at a certain point when they were up high, we could play it over the top and have some success. They’d be running toward their own goal and we’d be going the way we wanted to go.

“Our renewed pressure was really effective.”

Sophomore winger Danica Serdjenian ran through the rebound of her own shot to get the Panthers on the board in the 49th minute, and 20 minutes later senior Sadie Garling similarly ran down a follow-up attempt when her shot was bobbled by MDI keeper Sabine Costello-Sanders. Garling ran the ball nearly all the way into the back netting to set the stage for extra time.

It was a just reward for Waterville, which was the better side after halftime.

“We tried to stress that getting that next goal would turn the game around completely,” Mark Serdjenian said. “We had played really well (in the first half) —except for the small matter of the scoreboard. We hadn’t been in that situation all year. I was really proud of the way they responded.”

St. Pierre made sure the belief paid off in the 92nd minute, cutting the ball back of the left wing and whipping a low, skipper along the turf that handcuffed Costello-Sanders and ended the night with a Panther victory. What should have been a routine stop on a slow roller was instead a semifinal-clinching cracker on the scoresheet.

“I wanted it to go far (wide), and I didn’t think it was going in,” St. Pierre said. “I just saw it kind of slip right between her arm and her stomach. It kind of went to the left on her.

“They call it my famous ‘cut move.’ It’s pretty much one of the only things I can do every time on point. I just went to my go-to. I had a beautiful pass. It’s all on my teammates. That was not me, that was my team.”

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