THOMASTON — A banner season for the Mount Desert Island High School boys soccer program came to an end Halloween afternoon with a 2-1 loss to the Oceanside Mariners in a hard fought semifinal game.
The MDI boys finished the regular season 11th seed with a 5-7-2 record, but upset both No. 6 Winslow and No. 3 Presque Isle in the playoffs before meeting Oceanside Friday.
The semifinal game began as a battle at midfield with both teams defending territory well. Seth Young headed several passes with power and accuracy. Play moved into MDI territory with the first shots on goal by the Mariners. A battle at the MDI goal resulted in a penalty kick for Oceanside, the game’s first goal. Oceanside led 1-0 with 25 minutes to play in the first half.
Joe Grubb and Rye Murray made shots that missed or were saved. Defenders Tom Paola and Chase McKim made some flying leaps to block passes and shot attempts. Ryan Bender anchored the defense as he had all season, with smart plays to move the ball up. Zak Charette, Nick Ressel, Eli McDonnell and Young at midfield kept up a fast pace of play.
Grubb scored unassisted with three minutes left in the half to tie the game 1-1.
Teamwork averted a crisis in the first minute of the second half, when MDI keeper Kendrew VanGorder slipped and fell with a clump of attackers in front of the goal. Jack Sasner stepped in and sent the ball far up the field. Forward Jonathan Romero had several steals and crosses despite being heavily marked by the Mariner defense.
MDI outshot Oceanside in the second half, but the Mariners had one more goal ten minutes into the half for a 2-1 lead. The rest of the game was scoreless, thanks to great saves by VanGorder.
“I’m super proud of them,” Coach Tyler Frank said. “They’re an amazing group of kids. They gave everything they had, were always eager to contribute. I told them all season, ‘Impress each other.’
“I think the seniors are passing on a pretty bright torch, making it to semifinals. We’ll obviously look to continue and build the program, but there’s only one of this group.”
The varsity team for 2014 included seniors Will Greene, Jack Sasner, Simon Hulbert, Chase McKim, Tom Paola, Aidan Robichaud-Ward, Bailey Moore and Jonathan Romero; juniors Ryan Bender, Zakari Charette, William Miller, Seth Young and Rye Murray; sophomores Kendrew VanGorder, Nicholas Ressel, Teddy Geary, Eli McDonnell, Joseph Grubb, Jake Ressel, Kia Fox, Alex Galeaz, Zak Galeaz and Avery LaValle; and freshman Jack Stroud.