News Feature

Originally published in Castine Patriot, November 16, 2023 and The Weekly Packet, November 16, 2023
GSA boys soccer wins Class C North Regional Championship

Junior Fred Coit

Junior Fred Coit, center, somehow weaves through four Mount View defenders before getting off a shot in the Class C North Regional Finals on November 8 at Cameron Field in Bangor. Coit scored two goals on the evening, pacing the Eagles to a 4-0 win and sending them to the state championship game.

Photo by Erik Atwell Order prints of selected PBP photos.

by Erik Atwell

For the first time since 2002, the George Stevens Academy boys soccer team is heading to the state championship game.

On Wednesday, November 8, Coach Mark Hundhammer’s fourth-seeded Eagles defeated the sixth-seeded Mount View Mustangs 4-0 on the near freezing turf of Cameron Stadium in Bangor. The win was the club’s second consecutive shutout, and it gave them something they hadn’t claimed in 21 years—the Class C North Regional Championship.

Much like in their previous game at top-seeded Bucksport, the Eagles came out aggressive, looking to set the tone by way of controlling possession. After several early chances, including a near miss in the fifth minute by Rowan Gagne, the Eagles broke through in the 13th minute on a brilliant finesse shot from Reed Pambianco.

“I see that the keeper was out of position,” said Pambianco of his shot from 22 yards out, “so I just put it over the top.”

The goal was Pambianco’s 14th of the season, and from there, it was off to the races. Pambianco nearly doubled the lead just four minutes later, sending a blast toward the goal that the Mount View keeper barely deflected. This started a sequence of three straight corner kicks by the Eagles, each providing a golden scoring opportunity.

The Eagles’ second goal finally came on a quick counter attack in the 22nd minute, when freshman Jack Carson lofted a perfectly placed long pass to streaking junior Fred Coit. The speedy Coit was able to outrun the Mustangs’ defenders to the top of the box, where he then waited out the goalkeeper’s first move before expertly sneaking a ball in the lower right corner.

With the contest slipping away from them, Mount View turned up the offensive pressure, and was rewarded with a free kick just outside the box in the 28th minute. The shot was labeled for the back of the net, but Eagles’ goalkeeper Haven Smith got a piece of it, and in the scramble for the loose ball, senior defensive back Brady Pert calmly tracked it down and sent it upfield.

Just minutes after Mount View’s missed opportunity, Rowan Gagne got another chance at the Mustangs’ net, and this time he cashed in off a cross from Dominic Nevells, giving the Eagles a 3-0 lead that they carried into halftime.

The Eagles clamped down on defense in the second half, stifling most Mount View attacks even before they entered the offensive zone.

The Eagles’ fourth and final goal was a spectacular sequence that was emblematic of their collective effort all evening. Pambianco sent a long ball upfield to Nevells, who then threaded a textbook pass to the cutting Coit, who took one touch before sliding the ball between the keeper and the inside post. Coit’s second goal of the night finished off the 4-0 victory.

When the final whistle sounded, all that was left was to hoist the Regional Finals trophy, something George Stevens Academy had not done in 21 years.

Nevells, who had two assists on the night, talked after the game about how important it was to play a complete game against the Mustangs. “We’ve played them a bunch of times, closer games,” said Nevells. “We possessed the ball really well and got it to who we needed to.”

The Eagles stand at 13-2-2 after the win, a record that most could not have foreseen after last season’s 7-8-1 campaign.

The team now heads to the State Finals against Mt. Abram, scheduled for Saturday, November 11 at Mt. Ararat High School in Topsham. It is the final stop on a season that has surpassed expectations, and the gravity of the moment is not lost on the team.

“I think they saw it last year in the quarterfinal against Fort Kent,” said Coach Hundhammer. “That set the tone for this whole year. They came in fit, so they were ready to go. The junior class has absolutely stepped it up. I think they knew they could do it, it was just a matter of getting a couple of those critical things together.”

“It’s been a great season, and it’s great for it to all come together in the last game,” said Coit, the team’s leading goal scorer. “I wasn’t sure how the competition would be at the beginning of the season, but I thought we had the skill and the team to make it pretty far.”

The sentiment was echoed by Pambianco. “I’m so proud of this team,” he said. “I thought at least quarterfinals. But this team—we’re family, I love these guys.”

Now this family has a regional champions trophy to show for their remarkable season, and their sights are set on one more.