BLUE HILL – The small group of senior players on the George Stevens Academy girls soccer team knew the history. The Eagles had won three Eastern Maine Class C titles since 2000, but never on their home field.
It took a freshman and a sophomore, but No. 3 George Stevens finally got one in front of their fans.
Freshman sweeper Stevie Theoharidis kicked in a corner kick by sophomore Emily Peake in the second half and a group of underclassmen held off No. 4 Washington Academy of East Machias in a 1-0 win Friday afternoon.
GSA students were released from school early to watch the game.
“That made us doubly excited,” said Winslow Brokaw, who starts along with fellow senior captain Morgan Springer.
GSA, now 12-3-2, will appear in the Class C state final Saturday, Nov. 4, Western Maine champ North Yarmouth (15-1). NYA, the three-time defending state champ, has beaten GSA twice in the state final (2000 and 2004).
The No. 4 Raiders of East Machias (12-3) were appearing in their first regional final.
The Eagles took 11 corner kicks before Peake’s left-footed blast landed near the penalty-shot mark, which was where Theoharidis was standing. She settled the shot and kicked it past WA goalie Irene Lewey with 17 minutes, 58 seconds left.
“We usually put it to the six to get a head on it,” Theoharidis said. “I had to get a body part on it. Mostly we get headers, but this one went to the ground. … I’ve been waiting to score a goal. The past couple of days I’ve been practicing really hard.”
Eagles coach Steve Bemiss has been including Theoharidis on corner kicks more and more as the season has continued.
“She has a good head so Coach brings her up for corners so she can get a head on it,” Peake said.
George Stevens outshot Washington Academy 12-4, but the Raiders made it an even game at times, keeping the ball in GSA’s defensive end for stretches.
Bemiss said his team was tired from its third game in five days, including a trip to No. 2 Madawaska for the semifinals.
“I think it’s a tribute to the quality of the girls we had that we were able to stay in this game and win,” he said. “… If we hadn’t gotten that goal I’m not sure we would have been able to do it [before the game would have gone to penalty kicks].”
Lewey, a sophomore and first-year goalie, had a strong game with nine saves on 12 shots. She tipped away several corner kicks in the first half and made a huge play 4:57 before halftime, falling on a GSA ball just before it completely crossed the goal line.
“She’s a big reason why we’re here,” Walston said. “She came up huge.”
Eagles goalie Kayla Eaton stopped one of four shots.
Washington Academy had a chance late when Kayla Wood tried a direct kick from the left side, but Peake’s twin sister Alida eventually cleared it out. Lydia Clapp cleared out two balls from the penalty area in the final minute.
“They’re a tough team,” WA coach Justin Walston said. “We had our opportunities, they had theirs.”
Brokaw was playing with a broken nose she suffered in GSA’s 2-1 win against Madawaska.