AUGUSTA — Even in a game scarce on opportunities, all it takes is one.

Only seven shots on goal were made in Saturday night’s eight-person boys soccer state championship game between Carrabec and Stearns/Schenck. Christopher Caruso, though, delivered his — and with it, he delivered perfection for the Cobras.

Caruso’s goal in the 11th minute gave Carrabec a 1-0 victory over Stearns/Schenck in the state final at Cony High School. The win cemented an 18-0 season for the Cobras and sent them home with the second state championship in program history (2004, Class C).

“Hopefully it’ll feel real to me soon, but it doesn’t feel real just yet,” said Carrabec senior midfielder Lucas Vicneire. “We knew it was going to be a battle right to the end, and there was a good chance whoever scored first was going to win. We put the ball in the net, and we did it.”

Schenck-Stearns (15-2), the top seed in the North, dominated the first five minutes, forcing Carrabec goalkeeper William Lawrence into a key save. The Cobras, though, settled themselves in over the next five minutes, and with 19:40 left in the opening half, they found themselves on the board.

Receiving a pass from Vicneire on the left flank, Caruso found himself with space as he sprinted into the final third of the field. The senior forward then dribbled into the box, sidestepped an oncoming Schenck/Stearns defender and coolly rolled the ball into the bottom-left corner to put Carrabec (18-0), the South’s top seed, in front.


“I got a really good pass, and I knew I had to make my way up the field,” Caruso said. “I wasn’t even really paying attention; it happened so fast, and I saw the goal, figured I’d want to shoot there and it really happened for me. It was a miracle of a goal, and I’m really happy that it worked out.”

Carrabec hit the post minutes later in what was the only serious scoring threat for the remainder of the first half and the majority of the second. Schenck/Stearns had a chance to tie with roughly five minutes to play in the second but failed as no one could connect with a cross into a dangerous area.

Schenck’s Owen Wyman, left, fields the ball as Carrabec’s Seth Price defends during the eight-person boys soccer state final Saturday at Cony High School in Augusta. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

From there, Carrabec closed out the game by doing what it has done best all year and what has made it a powerhouse in the inaugural season of eight-person soccer: dominate possession. The Cobras barely let Schenck/Stearns get a foot to the ball in the final minutes, closing out a hard-fought victory.

“I don’t think anyone targeted 8-v-8 the way we did,” said Carrabec head coach Paul Vicneire. “Everybody else tried to get it down there and race to the goal, but we targeted a possession-style attack. That was our style, and we’re officially the first eight-person state champs. Those boys played incredible.”

Carrabec had five shots on goal to Schenck/Stearns’s two, with the chances for both teams at a premium. That was something Lucas Vicneire expected in a game between two evenly matched teams in what he, his coach and Caruso all knew was going to be their toughest matchup of the season.


Paul Vicneire, in fact, went as far as to say that his team was probably the underdog against a Schenck/Stearns side with notable size and speed. The Wolverines were a well-rounded team, solid at forward with Mason McDunnah and Gabriel Whitehouse and defensively with Caleb DeSantis and Connor Kelly.

“They were 100 percent the best team we’ve seen all season,” Lucas Vicneire said. “It was them and Greenville that were our toughest competition this year. We watched some of their games and reviewed them, but you don’t know how tough they are until you actually play them.”

Carrabec’s win gave the upper Kennebec Valley area two eight-person state championships after the Madison girls topped Penquis Valley earlier in the evening. The two teams took a side-by-side photo together with their Gold Balls following the presentation of the boys trophy to the Cobras.

They did so with plenty of support behind them. Carrabec fans packed every inch of the fence and their half of the Fuller Field bleachers as hundreds from the towns of Anson, Embden, Solon and New Portland made the one-hour trip to see a team that’s become appointment viewing in the area.

“This team has really drawn people in; all we’ve heard all year is that they’re fun to watch,” Paul Vicneire said. “I’ve coached 26 years, and this is absolutely the hardest-working team I’ve ever had. They played an amazing game today, and it’s a great way to end the season.”

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