BREWER – In sports jargon, the phrase “the cream rose to the top” means a particular team’s best players were able to elevate their games at a critical time.
Richmond High School soccer standouts Justin Schanck and Sunshine Anders did just that Saturday to give their school a pair of state Class D championships at the Pendleton Street Field.
Senior midfielder and tri-captain Schanck had his 39th, 40th and 41st goals of the season, including a momentum-changing, game-tying header with one second left in the half, to propel the Bobcat boys to a 5-1 win over Machias.
He also had an assist.
Earlier in the day, junior striker Anders scored both goals, her seventh and eighth of the playoffs, to guide the Bobcat girls to a 2-1 triumph over Van Buren.
In the boys game, Richmond had dominated but trailed 1-0 on Seth Kilton’s 17th goal. As the final 10 seconds of the half were being counted down, Bobcats right back Eric Levesque sent a long cross to the far post and Schanck headed it past Machias goalie Kevin Loughlin.
“That goal killed us,” said Kilton. “That was a big momentum swing.”
Loughlin said, “I think we thought the first half was over and our players kind of stopped. The ball was hit in and there were two of them wide-open. There was nothing I could do.”
Schanck said “Eric’s cross was perfect. It was right on my head. After that, we had way more confidence going into the second half.”
Levesque said he saw Schanck “going to the far post and I chipped it to him.”
Richmond’s confidence swell resulted in two decisive goals in the first 4:16 of the second half.
Craig Arnold’s third goal of the season came on a 20-yarder through a maze of players into the far corner off a Schanck pass 2:08 into the second half.
“I saw the ball coming to me, I ran to it and got my left foot on it,” said Arnold.
Only 2:08 later, Schanck dribbled past a couple of defenders and drilled a low 17-yarder past Loughlin’s left side.
“I just blasted it and it ended up being a good shot in the corner,” said Schanck.
Bryan Beckwith poked a Mike Jepson head flick past Loughlin to make it 4-1 before Schanck completed his hat trick.
“Justin is just phenomenal,” said Beckwith.
Kilton, who scored off an Eric Buck through-ball 8:23 into the game, said 15-1 Richmond was “definitely the best team we’ve played.”
Matt Pelletier finished with two saves on 11 shots for Richmond, which gave coach Rick Coughlin his 200th career win. Loughlin stopped 12 of 45 Richmond shots for 11-5-2 Machias.
In the girls game, Anders scored 8:18 into the game, and with 29:44 remaining, to give 14-1-1 Richmond its title.
“We played excellent. We strung so many passes together. It’s awesome,” said Anders.
She used her speed to split a pair of Van Buren defenders on the first goal. She controlled a Megan Pearson through-ball and beat stationary Van Buren goalie Kasey Violette to the goalie’s left.
“I was so happy she didn’t come out at me. They scare me so bad when they run out at you. I always mess them up,” said Anders.
In the second half, a Pearson shot struck Van Buren’s Sarah Johnson in the face and she dropped to the ground. Everybody seemed to stop except Anders, who ran onto the loose ball and rifled a 17-yarder into the near-side corner.
“It was just me and the goalie. There wasn’t anybody else around,” said Anders of her 11th goal of the year.
Van Buren’s Lukey Gagnon chipped the rebound of Kristen Ayotte’s shot over Richmond goalie Shasta Roy with 14:47 left for her sixth goal of the season on Van Buren’s first two shots of the second half. Later, the Crusaders’ Ayotte almost tied it with 1:03 left but her 14-yarder rolled barely wide.
“I was going down at the time. The goalie didn’t give me much to shoot at. I saw a little space and shot for that. It went just inches wide,” said Ayotte.
Roy said, “I took it was a one-on-one and cut down her angle. I gave her a little more of the near post because I knew she would shoot to the far post.”
Van Buren coach Brian Hews said Richmond “was much quicker than we were and had the skills to go along with it. They were the most skilled team we’ve played.”
Roy did not have to make a save on six shots while Violette had four saves on 19 shots for 13-2-2 Van Buren.