Lee Academy's Luis Soto goes head to head with North Yarmouth's Wyatt Thomas during the Class D state championship between the two teams. Credit: Alexander MacDougall / Houlton Pioneer Times

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine – The Lee Academy boys varsity soccer team became the Class D state champions after the Pandas toppled the North Yarmouth Panthers 5-0 on Saturday.

The first half was a battle for ball possession between the Pandas and Panthers. Lee Academy demonstrated excellent footwork and passing, with North Yarmouth continually combating the assault and retaliating.

Eventually, Lee Academy was able to find its opening, netting a goal from Kutay Erturk with an assist from Pedro Anselmo at 18:56.

After finding their footing, Lee continued applying the pressure to the Panthers, closing out the first half with a goal from Joel Gerlach with an assist from Luis Soto.

The second half saw Lee easing off the aggressive attack enough to put some more effort into its defense. North Yarmouth continued to try and make up lost ground.

After a long half of battling for the ball, Lee Academy scored its third goal, with Gerlach making his second goal of the game and Soto making his second assist at 12:52 in the second half.

Lee increased the divide after a penalty kick. Anselmo netted Lee’s fourth goal at 11:29 in the second half.

The final goal of the season came from Lee’s Soto, ending the game with a shutout victory for Lee Academy.

Both keepers did an impressive job during the championship, with Lee keeper Andrew Scott making 13 saves, and North Yarmouth’s keeper Micheal Belleau making 12.

“Its definitely a tough one for us. I don’t think the score line is indicative of the work that our guys put in,” said North Yarmouth head coach Matt Williams. “I think we turned off at critical moments. … It’s tough, because you battle to get to this point and you don’t get the performance you need, and that’s soccer and that’s life sometimes. Really proud of our guys, and maybe if it was a different night there would be a different result.”

“The key was punching in that first goal,” said Lee Academy head coach Randy Harris. “We knew we were going to have to play really well to beat this team. They are big, strong and play very well. I think after we scored that first goal, it relaxed us and put the game on our terms. They really came after us, but our counter attacks were great.”

At halftime, the Washburn Beavers were awarded the good sportsmanship award by the Maine Principals Association, for good and respectful play for their season.

David DiMinno

David grew up in New York, and moved to Maine to study political science at the University of Maine. In his spare time, he loves hiking, playing tennis and skiing.