(Naples ME) I love these matchups!
Put two hardworking teams together, throw out the records and catch the excitement.
And there was plenty of excitement today as visiting Poland fell to Lake Region, 4-2, on a chilly Saturday morning/afternoon of Class B South boys’ soccer.
Lake Region senior Tristen Chaine was the difference maker in the final outcome with two second half tallies.
The Knights controlled play for much of the first half but opportunistic LR jumped in front, 2-0, on rebound scores by junior Jacob Arey.
But Poland, which hadn’t registered a goal in four games, got an answer as sophomore Cooper Keene put in his own rebound with 8:57 left in the first half.
The Knights carried that 2-1 deficit to halftime and the closeness of the score was unfamiliar ground for the visitors. In a season of frequent bulging first-half deficits, here was a game they had a solid chance to win.
Poland tied the score on a lovely corner kick/header conversion with 31:54 remaining. We now had ourselves a ballgame!
I think the chilly weather really helped both teams by lessening the fatigue that the recent high heat brought. And I think the fact that both teams were in a winnable position in the second half was also an inspiration. Take your pick of the reasons. We saw minutes full of back-and-forth runs with a significant number of near misses and goalie stops as the game continued tied.
But then Tristen Chaine took over. The senior showed the knack of beating defenders off the dribble during most of the game. Twice, with the game tied in the second half, those moves into space allowed him to launch left-footed rockets from the left. One at 14:00 and another at 9:02. Knights goalie Matt Thebarge had no chance on either shot as both were hard-hit and both found the upper right corner of the Poland net.
Those goals turned out to be the difference in the final 4-2 outcome.
Four minutes after the first Tristen goal, the Lakers were awarded a penalty kick when Poland captain Sam Walker took down Giovani Lopez in the penalty area. Giovani took the PK but his low shot was blocked by Matt Thebarge.
I thought, at the time, that Matt’s big save might spark a Knights’ counterattack and a possible tying goal but instead within a minute Tristen tallied his second score to increase Poland’s deficit to two.
Jacob Arey’s two first-half goals were almost identical. He was on the right side as first Paul Vigna, and later Jason Harlow, had one-on-one’s versus Poland GK Matt Thebarge. Matt made two gutsy blocks but both produced rebounds that went directly to Jacob with open nets to shoot at. Jacob didn’t miss on either opportunity.
Noah Breton’s goal was a beauty. Captain Sam Walker’s corner kick was head high and Noah’s was the head that connected with it. LR goalie CJ Ferguson had the middle of the net covered but Noah’s header went into the left corner. Nice play.
There were no cautions and very little contact.
I was impressed with the Vigna brothers (Paul/Peter). Peter had several key defensive plays to stymy Poland surges.
There were a few raindrops in the first half. A few more and I might have gone to my car and if I had I would have missed a very good game.
Poland (0-9) hosted Lake Region (2-8) on September 12th and lost 3-1. LR took a 3-0 halftime lead and held off the Knights in the second half. This time around the Knights were in a tie game until the final fifteen minutes.
The Lakers had scored only two goals in their previous six games making today’s four-goal effort a welcome change.
Last time I saw the Lakers’ Matt Mayo in action was during this summer’s, “Wizard of Oz.” Terrific show.
I did the Fryeburg Academy/Leavitt football game at FA last Saturday. That day I was looking for shade (temps in the high 80’s). Today was a bracing 35 degrees cooler. I had four layers on!
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)