WINSLOW – Winslow High School junior fullback-striker Jill Smith entered Monday’s Eastern Maine Class B schoolgirl championship soccer game having scored just one goal this season.
Now she has three.
Smith’s second goal of the game, coming with 11:22 left in the second overtime, gave the Raiders a hard-fought 2-1 win over Ellsworth.
It was 16-1 Winslow’s third consecutive EM Class B crown and the Raiders will face 14-0-3 Falmouth Saturday in a rematch of last year’s state Class B title game which was won by Falmouth 1-0.
Ellsworth wound up 15-1-1.
A well-placed corner by Vicki Nadeau led to Smith’s game-winner.
Ellsworth goalie Catie Cravens fought her way through a maze of players to punch the ball straight up in the air but it dropped to Smith and she volleyed it with her right leg inside the near post from nine yards out.
“I saw the ball and said ‘I’m going to get that’,” said Smith.
Nadeau said she wanted to put her corner over Cravens’ head “and the wind took it right in [toward the goal]. The wind helped it.”
“It was a very nice corner kick,” said Cravens. “We just weren’t able to clear it.”
Smith opened the scoring against a blustery wind 1:24 into the second half by finishing off a pretty passing sequence. Katie Caron slipped the ball ahead to Meryl McLellan and McLellan’s precise touch pass sent Smith alone down the left side of the penalty area.
“We practice this and I knew where to put it. I moved it from my left foot to my right foot and put it far post,” said Smith.
The Eagles parlayed their slight speed advantage, tenacity and the favorable wind direction into a 19-2 shots-at-goal advantage in the second half and sophomore striker Casey Wyman got the well-deserved equalizer with 8:40 left.
Winslow goalkeeper Brynne Davis came way off her line to clear the ball only to have it hit Ellsworth’s Emily Lyons and deflect directly into the path of the onrushing Wyman.
“It went off my chest and I hit it as hard as I could,” said Wyman, who roofed the 13-yarder as Davis tried to scramble back into position.
Earlier in the half, Ellsworth’s Jen Richter volleyed an Emily Baranello cross off the under side of the crossbar and Emily Miller directed an Ashley Cloak cross off the post to Davis’ left.
“I love those guys [goal posts],” grinned Davis.
The dynamic Miller caused havoc for the Raider defense and she nearly won it in the first overtime as she was unmarked at the far post when Maggie Harding fed the ball across to her.
“I didn’t turn my hips enough and [the shot] went the wrong way,” said Miller, whose shot went back across the goal-mouth and wide.
Davis made three saves on 21 shots while Cravens wound up with five saves on 12 shots.
Both teams controlled play when they had the wind but Ellsworth was a little more dominant because the Eagles won the majority of 50-50 balls.
Both sets of backs were exemplary as they maintained good defensive positioning and made safe plays out of the back.
Smith, Heather Pelletier, Beth Fisher and Courtney Turner shone in the back for Winslow while Baranello, Sarah Homich, Kara Beal and Maggie Seavey stood out for Ellsworth.
“Both teams played very well,” said Cravens.
Winslow coach Scott Wood concurred, saying, “It was one of those games in which it was a shame somebody had to lose. Both teams played really well and both teams, at times, played well against the wind. It was a great game.”
Ellsworth coach Jen Myers said, “We did all we could do today. Unfortunately, we had a ball hit the crossbar and another hit the post. But that’s the game of soccer.”