BANGOR, Maine — Dido Lumu has been a goalkeeper only since the start of this high school soccer season.
But the Lewiston High School sophomore delivered like a veteran when it mattered most Wednesday evening, stopping a point-blank shot in the final minutes as the Blue Devils upended top-ranked and defending state champion Bangor 2-1 in the Class A North boys soccer final.
Second-seeded Lewiston (13-2-2) will play either Portland or Gorham in Saturday’s state final at Hampden Academy.
Bangor, which had its 31-match unbeaten streak halted, finishes 15-1-1.
Sophomore Bilal Hersi had a goal and an assist during the first 20 minutes of the second half as Lewiston erased a 1-0 deficit.
Hersi tied the match 5:32 into the final period on a 15-yard shot from the center of the box after receiving a short pass from his right by teammate Yusef Mohamed.
“I made my run toward the middle and the ball came to me perfectly on a good ball by Yusef, and I controlled and slotted it,” said Hersi.
Hersi set up the game-winner 13 minutes later, tipping a perfect lead pass ahead to junior Bakar Sharriff-Hassan, who dribbled once and scored inside the left goalpost.
“Bakar made an amazing run and luckily I saw him and gave him a good pass,” said Hersi. “There wasn’t a lot of room, it was kind of luck but it was good skill, too.”
Bangor generated considerable pressure in seeking the equalizer over the final few minutes, with senior forward Garth Berenyi blasting a direct kick from just beyond the penalty area hard off the crossbar with 5:20 remaining and then being denied by Lumu moments later.
The Rams’ David Miller gained possession to the right of the Lewiston goal and lined a pass across the crease to Berenyi at the left post. Berenyi, who became Bangor’s career goal-scoring leader during his team’s semifinal victory over Mt. Blue of Farmington last Saturday, quickly redirected the ball toward the net only to have Lumu in position to block it away.
“No. 7 (Berenyi) was open, all alone,” said Lumu. “The last few days we’ve been working on three-man situations where I would go to the open man and try to save it, and today it worked and I got the save.
“I was actually out of place, but coach (Mike McGraw) told me to never give up and to get big so I got big and the ball didn’t go in. It went out.”
It was Bangor’s best chance, but also its last chance.
“We all admit that they were a different team than we’d played the first two times,” said Berenyi, whose team defeated Lewiston 3-2 on Sept. 2 and 3-1 in the recently played Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championship match.
“They were a different team than we’d seen all season. Not taking any credit away from them, they were really the best team we’d played and they played really well. At the same time, we had our chances but they just didn’t go our way.”
Bangor finished with a 15-11 advantage in shots, with sophomore goalie Austin Conway making five saves for the Rams and Lumu stopping 10 shots for Lewiston.
“Dido’s just a big presence and he’s got a sense of where he is in the goal, especially around the ball,” said McGraw.
“I will say that the crossbar was a good friend today, too.”
Josh Sherwood gave Bangor a 1-0 lead with 16:03 left in the first half, gaining possession of a corner kick by Berenyi and lining a hard, 20-yard shot from the center of the box that appeared to deflect slightly off the foot of a Lewiston defender and past Lumu.
But Lewiston did not let the deficit affect its play, particularly on defense, and the Blue Devils ultimately were rewarded offensively not long after intermission.
“Right at the start they came out really hungry to play,” said Berenyi. “It seemed like it was just a faster pace. They were playing smarter and faster. We had a really good start and put one away early, and I don’t think we even got complacent, I think we played 80 minutes.
“They just did what they needed to do.”
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