READFIELD — It seemed like a simple touch toward the net.

With 15 minutes left in regulation of a 0-0 soccer game Tuesday night, Maranacook senior Grace Dwyer sent a high, arcing pass toward the Leavitt net, a play that seemed to be almost more of a clear than anything else.

But then, almost out of nowhere, sprinted fellow senior Emily Harper. She met the ball with perfect timing and a second later, knocked the ball into the net for a goal.

“(Harper) tends to do that,” Dwyer joked after the game.

It was a goal that eventually gave the Black Bears (12-1-1) a 1-0 victory to close what has been the program’s best regular season in 20 years, coach Travis Magnusson said.

Maranacook will enter the Class C South playoffs as the No. 3 seed behind Hall-Dale (11-1-0) and Oak Hill (12-0-0). The Black Bears will host Boothbay/Wiscasset (1-10-0) in a regional prelim game Friday at 6:30 p.m.


“I’m pretty sure Grace hit it over the top,” Harper said. “I could see that it was going to go over (by the net), so I had to time my run in order to not go offsides there. I think I ran through the ball, it went through the goalie’s legs and I just tapped it in.”

Harper, who led the Black Bears in goals in both her freshmen and sophomore seasons, missed several games this season with a knee injury. She also missed all of last season with a knee injury.

There was some concern that Harper would return to the pitch after she was injured this fall, but she recovered and is back leading the Black Bears.

She is has scored three or more goals in several games this season, including a seven-goal effort in a 16-0 rout of Cony on Sept. 11.

In the first five games of the season alone, Harper had 17 goals.

Maranacook foward Emily Harper watches as Leavitt goalie Carlie Leavitt stops her shot during a soccer game Tuesday at the Ricky Gibson Field of Dreams in Readfield. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

“We also played five or six games without Emily (this season), but when she came back, it was like a huge bolt for us having her, she’s such a special player,” Magnusson said.


Maranacook boasts far more depth than the average Class C program, with 27 players in the program. The Black Bears feature a strong senior class that includes contributors Dwyer, Ella Deslisle, Ella Schmidt and Anna Erb. As a group, Junior Addie Watson and sophomore Natalie Mohlar have also provided some needed production.

“Our top 12 or 13 (players), they’re really special, they really, really play well together,” Magnusson said.

“I think we’re just really close,” Harper added.

Playing in the tough Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference has also helped Maranacook. The Black Bears’ lone tie came in a 1-1 match on Sept. 28 against Erskine, which will enter the Class B South tournament as a No. 4 seed. Maranacook’s lone loss came Oct. 5 in a 2-1 decision against Medomak Valley, the No. 3 seed in B South.

“We’re as good as anybody, if not better than everybody,” Magnusson said. “We’ve got to come to play. But there’s some really good teams. Hall-Dale and Oak Hill sit at the top, they’re both really strong. We always know that Traip (Academy) is really good, Waynflete. There’s a lot of teams that can come out and win the whole thing. We’ve got to be playing our best soccer over the next two weeks, for sure.”

“I feel like we’re ready for whatever,” Dwyer added. “We just want to crush whoever is in our way.”



Dave Dyer — 621-5640

Twitter: @Dave_Dyer

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