BRUNSWICK, Maine — Eliza Jansujwicz’s first goal gave the Bangor Rams the momentum. Her second one took away Brunswick’s hopes.
Jansujwicz had the first two goals in leading third-seeded Bangor to a 3-0 Class A North girls high school soccer semifinal win over No. 2 Brunswick on Saturday.
The Rams (12-3-1) face top-seeded and defending Class A state champion Camden Hills in the regional final on Wednesday. The Dragons finished 14-2.
Throughout the game, Bangor won most 50/50 balls, keeping the potent Dragon offense at bay.
Brunswick started well, taking four of the game’s first five shots and forcing Rams goalkeeper Alexis LeBreton to make a pair of tough saves.
“The first 20 minutes we were outstanding. We could have had a couple of goals and it is a different game if that happens,” said Brunswick coach Martyn Davison.
But Jansujwicz had other ideas. She found a loose ball in front of Brunswick goalie Beth Labbe (nine saves) and deposited her shot into the back of the cage with 14:28 remaining in the first half.
“I didn’t think we had settled in at all in the first 15 minutes, just clearing balls and not making anything happen. That goal was huge,” said Bangor coach Joe Johnson.
“It helped to swing the momentum and get off on the right foot,” said Jansujwicz.
The Rams kept coming, forcing Labbe to make a point-blank save on Riley Andrews to keep her team down by just the one goal at the intermission.
Bangor came out strong in the second half, forcing the Dragons to play defense for long periods of time.
“I felt that we were flat all game, after that first goal we really never looked the same,” said Davison. “We have the skill. We were outworked by Bangor today. As a team it was just flat.”
On the occasions that Brunswick moved into the offensive zone, the Bangor defensive unit of Sophia Mullins, Maddie Symonds and Bella Varisco cleared chances out of danger. Defender Isabelle Parkin stayed with Brunswick striker Maeve Arthur, rarely allowing the Dragons’ only senior to turn toward the goal.
“Isabelle Parkin has been like that all season, and players normally just give up trying to turn around and get by her,” said Johnson. “She plays angles, the body, the ball. She is unbelievable.”
Arthur hustled to create a scoring chance, running onto a pass from Anna Kousky after a solid step-up from Izzy Banks. But, LeBreton snuffed out the chance to keep her team ahead by a goal, finishing with seven saves and the shutout.
Again it was Jansujwicz who did the most damage for the Rams. She gained control of the ball 30 yards from the Brunswick net, stepped to her right and unleashed a rising shot that found the inside right corner of the cage for a 2-0 lead with 21:50 remaining in regulation.
“I saw some open space, drove into it, and I saw the goalie move. Thankfully it dropped in,” said the Bangor sophomore midfielder.
“The second goal was the killer. We didn’t clear the ball as well as I would have liked, but that is a great shot,” said Davison.
Brunswick amped up the pressure from there, but the Rams refused to budge.
“Brunswick is always a threat and is one of the schools we always look forward to playing,” said Johnson.
Rowan Andrews put the Dragons away with 7:11 remaining, one-timing a pass from Maddi Cormier past Labbe for a 3-0 edge.
“We got to the semifinals and just hit a wall today. Bangor finished its chances and we didn’t,” said Davison.
Bangor finished with a 19-13 shot advantage, while the Dragons held a 6-5 edge in corner kicks.