The John Bapst Crusaders and Ellsworth Eagles met for the second time this season on Saturday morning, with Bapst avenging a loss to Ellsworth three weeks ago on a golden goal less than a minute into overtime.
After a quick combination from Oscar Martinez and Jack Derosier in the midfield, junior Logan Hart went on a solo tear up the middle, dribbling past one defender and sending another the wrong way, before striking the game-winning shot with his left foot right outside the 18-yard box.
“I just read the defender, it was clear his body positioning was off, and I took advantage,” Hart, a natural righty, said. “It felt great.”
It was a thrilling end to a highly anticipated matchup at the University of Maine in Orono on Saturday.
Coming into the game, the Crusaders were 6-1 and Ellsworth was right behind them in the Class B North standings at 5-1. Bapst was the state runners-up last year, while Ellsworth finished at a solid 13-4 last season.
Trying to avoid a season sweep, Bapst dominated possession the first half, and took a lead on an Ethan Marquis penalty after he was fouled in the box.
“We knew we had to have them on their back foot, unlike last time,” Marquis said. “We wanted to come out with a little more will and create more chances in the attacking third.
But the Eagles absorbed Bapst’s attack for the rest of regulation, and knotted it at 1-1 in the second half off a cross from reigning Class B boys’ Player of the Year, senior Cruz Coffin.
The shifty Coffin got loose from his mark, took a downfield pass from Andreas Rodrigues to the endline and crossed it into a crowded attacking third. In the ensuing scramble, Ellsworth junior Kal Laslie took advantage and buried a shot to tie it.
“Kal was where he was supposed to be, and put it away,” Ellsworth head coach Mark Ensworth said. “Cruz did a great job, off a great pass from Andreas.”
“Ellsworth is very opportunistic,” Bapst head coach Jason Pangburn said. “They play really fast and when they get a chance, they score. We made a mistake and lost the mark on Cruz.”
Helping preserve the tie was Bapst junior goalkeeper Connor Messervey, who came up big in the first five minutes of the game and again in the last couple, making key saves to thwart Coffin and company.
In the end, Pangburn said the Crusaders did a great job executing their game plan and adjusting to Ellsworth’s style of play.
“This is a great boost of confidence for us,” Hart said. “We had that fire in us today.”