Bucksport's Addison Goss (15) tries to take the ball from a Maranacook player during the Class C girls soccer state championship game at Hampden Academy on Nov. 5, 2022. Credit: Kim Higgins / BDN

It’s been five days since the Bucksport High School girls soccer team won its first Class C state championship but senior midfielder Ella Hosford said it hasn’t sunk in yet.

“It’s mind-blowing. You always dream about winning a state championship. And then when you do it, it’s crazy,” said Hosford, who scored a team-high 33 goals and ended her remarkable career with 119 career goals, tying her with former Lee Academy star Deidra Ham for 10th-most in Maine schoolgirl history.

“It’s so unreal. We’ve worked so hard,” said senior outside back Lanie Stubbs.

Being the first Bucksport girls or boys soccer team to win a state title made the accomplishment even more special for the squad, and between the returnees, players off a highly successful junior varsity team and a large group coming from a solid middle school team, the Bucks will be in the hunt for more state titles in the years to come.

This season’s players wanted to play Maranacook after the Black Bears thumped them a year ago 5-0 in the Bucks’ first appearance in a state title game.

“We all wanted revenge,” admitted Hosford, who will attend Husson University in Bangor in the fall.

The Bucks wasted little time asserting themselves on Saturday, winning virtually all the 50-50 balls and completely dominating the first half en route to building a 2-0 lead on goals by junior Natasha Monreal and senior Alyx Frazell. They outshot Maranacook 11-2.

The Bucks withstood a Maranacook rally in the second half to earn a 2-1 victory and were the only North girls soccer team to win a state championship that day.

“We knew the things we did wrong a year ago,” said head coach Mike Garcelon, who is in his eighth season with Bucksport’s girls soccer team. “They had beaten us to 50-50 balls and had us back on our heels immediately. So we knew we needed a good start. We had a real good game plan. And our girls are smart soccer players.”

The process that eventually produced a state championship began several years ago when Garcelon and his assistants got involved in the youth and middle school programs.

“We ran clinics as much as possible,” Garcelon said.

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He knew when the players were in middle school that the six senior starters he had this season were going to be a special group. He said they may have won a state title earlier if it wasn’t for the season that was wiped out by COVID, during which they went undefeated playing teams only in their area of the state.

The 18-0 Bucks outscored their regular season opponents 129-3 this year with just three close games, two of which were against Central of Corinth. They were tested in the playoffs after beating Orono 8-0, going on to beat Fort Kent 4-2 and Houlton 2-1 to reach the state final.

Garcelon and his staff made a tactical change that proved to be beneficial — moving Hosford from striker to the midfield, where she played alongside fellow seniors Allie Pickering and Meg Morrison.

Hosford and Pickering were All-Class C North regional selections.

“We wanted to dominate the midfield,” said Garcelon, who felt he still had plenty of firepower and speed up front with Frazell, Monreal and junior Lily Chiavelli.

He wanted to make sure Hosford got a lot more touches on the ball than she did against Maranacook as a striker last year.

Hosford, who set a schoolgirl single-season record with 61 goals a year ago, didn’t care where she played.

“I just wanted to do whatever I could to help the team,” Hosford said. “I would trade all my goals for a state championship.”

The move helped create more scoring balance, which made the Bucks harder to mark.

Chiavelli scored 24 goals this season, while Monreal netted 20, Pickering had 17 and Frazell produced 13 goals.

Freshman Haley Rose was also a productive scorer off the bench, according to Garcelon.

Hosford said as a midfielder, you see the field better, and the Bucks were able to pass the ball quicker, which led to more quality scoring chances.

Seniors Stubbs and Rylee Coombs were stout in the back, where they were joined by junior stopper Sam Cyr and junior sweeper Nettie Fox.

And sophomore Jetta Shook was stellar in goal, making four saves against Maranacook while also aggressively coming off her line to clear balls away.

Sophomore Ruby Pereira, freshman Madison Rose, Haley’s twin sister, and freshman Addison Goss were also valuable assets off the bench.