Blue Hill—After a deep run in the playoffs, the George Stevens Academy varsity boys soccer team fell in the Northern Class C regionals to eventual state champion Washington Academy.
The final score was 7-3 in the East Machias game on November 2, and the sixth straight loss over two seasons for the Eagles against the Raiders.
But in their first trip to the Class C regionals in over seven years, GSA had given the undefeated Washington Academy Raiders its closest matches this season, including a 5-3 game in September.
“The boys played with everything they had, so there’s nothing to hang their head about,” Coach Mark Ensworth said.
Scoreless nearly halfway through the first period, Washington Academy scored first. The Eagles quickly answered with a corner kick by Payson Allen, but the Raiders were able to penetrate the Eagles’ defense with two goals near the end of the half.
The 3-1 Raiders’ lead that opened the second half stretched to 5-1 before the Eagles scored twice, off a goal from Walker Ellsworth and a Washington Academy own goal.
“They just scored so quickly, they’re so talented, we had a hard time keeping up,” Ensworth said.
In their first trip to the Class C regionals in over seven years, the Eagles pushed farther into the tournament than their ninth-place ranking would suggest, with wins on the road against #8 Limestone Community School/Maine School of Science and Mathematics, top-ranked Orono in the quarterfinals, and #4 Houlton in the semifinals to meet undefeated Washington Academy in a rematch of the 2015 semifinals (6-0).
Looking ahead to next year, and his fourth year coaching the varsity team, Ensworth said that while he will lose “quite a few seniors,” players from the junior varsity program will be ready to step up.
“It’s a really, really strong senior group you can’t replace, but it creates a new opportunity for younger guys,” Ensworth said. “We’re not rebuilding, but reorganizing, with a new group of kids. It’s going to be up to them.”