The Eastern Class B preliminary round playoff game Saturday afternoon between No. 8 Belfast and No. 9 John Bapst of Bangor featured a pair of equally-matched high school boys soccer teams with similar styles, both taking the pitch in hopes of moving on in the single-elimination tournament.

And while the Lions indeed held “home field advantage,” it was the Crusaders who felt most at home on Dennis “Bear” Bryant Field.

John Bapst found the net late in the first half and held off any chance of Belfast popping in the equalizer to pull off the mild upset with a 1-0 victory over the Lions.

No. 9 John Bapst (6-6-3) now moves on to the regional quarterfinals to face top-seeded and unbeaten Camden Hills (14-0) Wednesday, Oct. 26 in Rockport. It will be a rematch of last year’s quarterfinals, which saw the Windjammers earn a 5-2 win over the Crusaders in Rockport.

No. 8 Belfast’s season ends at 7-7-1.

The lone goal of Saturday’s prelim playoff contest came with time winding down in the first half, with Crusader Kevin McConnell placing a picture-perfect pass to Angus Ferguson, who popped in what proved the game-winner with 5:52 remaining.

Tyler Baker made six saves in goal in the losing effort for Belfast, while information on John Bapst’s goalie was unavailable. The Lions narrowly outshot the Crusaders 16-15, while the visitors held a 5-2 advantage in corner kicks.

“[In] the first half we definitely didn’t play up to our potential,” said first-year Belfast coach Burke Hazard. “In the second half I thought we started putting things together. We had them on the ropes a couple times [and] we had some good [scoring] chances, but things just didn’t go our way.”

John Bapst’s goal came off an indirect kick from the right side that McConnell placed perfectly over the assembled Belfast defensive wall of players and across the goal to Ferguson, who served it far post over the outstretched hands of Baker for what proved to be the game-winner.

“It was a well-placed ball,” said Hazard. “Tyler said he had it but he slipped. Obviously the conditions are a little wet today [and] that’s going to happen. Not to take anything away from them at all, it was a very good goal.”

Belfast’s Carson Beck received a yellow card with 4:41 remaining in regulation, leaving the hosts without one of its top defenders for the remainder of the contest.

Yanni Rakis played well for the Lions and had a handful of strong scoring opportunities, with the best coming with less than a minute to play after a teammate served a ball into him inside the 18-yard line, but Rakis had a minor collusion with the Crusader keeper, who held on to the ball.

Hazard said he was proud of the effort his student-athletes gave this season and “I think [this playoff game] could have gone either way.”

Village NetMedia Associate Sports Director Mark Haskell can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email at