Bangor defeats Oxford Hills 6-1

Bangor scored four times in a ten-minute span in the second half
Lucy Leonard (3) and Emmie Streams (13)

(Paris ME) The Bangor Rams remain undefeated after a, 6-1, win over Oxford Hills this afternoon.

Devon St. Louis and Emmie Streams each had two goals for the Rams.

The victory sets up a battle on Wednesday between Bangor and equally undefeated Camden Hills at Rockport.

The Windjammers have won the last four Class A state titles and have a lengthy winning streak (71?) in place.

Maddy Herrick chases a rebound

“Bangor had a run a few years ago where they had two championships in 4-5 years,” said Bangor coach Andrew Varisco after today’s game.  “Camden has had that run going the last several years.”

In today’s game, Oxford Hills (3-4-1) played much better than the final score would suggest. 

The Vikings rallied to tie the score at 1-1 and came close to tying the score at 2-2 in the second half.

“I was proud of the team in the first half,” said OH coach Brittany Moore post-game.  “They went down a goal but kept the energy up and came right back.”

Anna Connors draws a penalty

This was a 2-1 game twenty minutes into the second half.  The next goal was going to be crucial, and Bangor got it.

The Rams have speedsters on their roster and used it to their advantage to set up the third goal.

Junior Anna Connors (Class A state champ 200m) broke down the left side in on Oxford Hills goalie Maddy Herrick. 

Anna took a shot.  Maddy saved it but there was a rebound to Maddy’s right.  Both players went after the loose ball and Anna went flying.  The Rams were awarded a penalty kick.

Emmie Streams gets set for the PK

Emmie Streams took the PK at 19:15 and gave Bangor a, 3-1, lead.

“We pressure with our speed, and it has led to penalties,” said Coach Varisco.  “We want to cause our opponents to make mistakes.”

Those on the Oxford Hills side weren’t sure that there was reason for a PK at all since Maddy was going after the ball.

Bella Devivo (1) and Tayler King (23)

The referee’s view appeared to be that Maddy had a right to go after the ball.  She didn’t, however, have a right to trip someone else who was also going after the ball.

“Their third goal was a tough one,” said Coach Moore.

Emmie Streams had a successful PK in Bangor’s come-from-behind, 3-2 win over Brunswick last game and she was chosen to take the penalty kick in today’s game.

Oxford Hills celebrates goal

“I saw the goalie’s position,” said Emmie of today’s PK.  “She was positioned more to the left so I thought I would have a better chance to the right.”  And that’s where Emmie’s scoring shot went.

The Rams third goal was quickly followed by three more.  In a decisive ten-minute stretch in the second half, the visitors tallied four times.

Bangor coach Andrew Varisco

“I think if we knew that we were still in it we’d have had more to give in the end,” said Coach Moore.

“Their goalie (Maddy Herrick) had some good saves in the game,” said Coach Varisco afterwards.  “The end result won’t show how well she played.”

Both teams had scoring chances thanks to terrific passing.

Oxford Hills senior Bella Devivo was set up beautifully for a goal by teammate Lizzy Dieterich in the first half.

Bangor junior Anna Connors did the same in the second half with a great pass in the middle to give senior Devon St. Louis a wide-open net to shoot at.

Anna Connors scores the first goal

Both Rams first-half goals (Anna Connors and Devon St. Louis) happened on break-ins from the right side. 

Emmie Streams’ tenth goal of the season was the direct result of an Oxford Hills turnover in their own end.  An attempted clearing pass went to Emmie alone in the middle.  Several quick dribbles (she’s the point guard on the basketball team) put her into position to score.

The Rams sixth goal was by sophomore Lily Chandler.  Lily made a tough-angled shot from near the right endline into the far-left upper corner.

Lily Chandler

“Lily is a high-skilled player,” said Coach Varisco.  “She doesn’t realize yet what her potential is.  Long term she could be an outstanding player for us.”

I saw Oxford Hills opening, 6-0, loss to Brunswick.  The improvement in the Vikings was noticeable.

“The team is very willing to learn,” explained Coach Moore.  “We’ve been able to pick-and-choose what has created the most holes for us in games at practice.  It is nice that they can learn so quickly.”

“We knew that they had some fast players, but I was impressed that we, especially Katie Hallee, could keep up with them,” added Coach Moore.

Devon St. Louis’ first goal

Coach Varisco: “We stress possession/control as a group.  The longer the game went the better we got at it.”

Coach Varisco on the Rams style of play: “We don’t play a lot of over-the-top balls unless the defense is up high which they were doing some with us.  If we can change from one side to the other, a quick switch, and get a diagonal behind, that always works really nicely.”

Coach Varisco on the upcoming Camden Hills game: “Coach Messer has a fantastic program going.  The game will be our halfway point.  We’ll be able to see where we are and what we need to work on.  They’ll test us in many ways. We are used to seeing them twice during the regular season but not this year.  The result of the game will influence seeding and who has home in the playoffs.”

Ella Pelletier (24) and Taylor King (23)

There was no soccer tournament last season.  In the previous four seasons (2016-2019), Camden Hills has knocked the Rams out of the playoffs. 

The Rams don’t lose often as their 132-16-11 record over the previous eleven years would suggest.

The game on Wednesday is a reschedule from an earlier game that was postponed because of a wet field at Camden Hills.  I actually showed up at the field and learned of the postponement there.

Nice crowd and nice soccer weather.

(All pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Emmie Streams breaks in after intercepting a pass
McKinley Soehren (13) and Anna Connors (5)
Junior Anna Connors – goal and an assist
GK Maddy Herrick makes a save
GK Emma McNeil catches a shot on net
Rachel Mathieu and Saige Winslow
Trinity Bernard (9) chases a loose ball
Goal by Bella Devivo (1)
Emmie Streams (13) and Trinity Bernard (9)

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Eli Soehren leads Oxford Hills (4-0) to 19-6 win over Bonny Eagle

Isaiah Oufiero caught two touchdown passes for Oxford Hills
Eli Soehren had 3 TD passes

(Paris, ME) Eli Soehren was all over the stat sheet in undefeated Oxford Hills, 19-6, win over Bonny Eagle today.

And almost all the stats were positive.

The junior quarterback threw for three touchdowns against the previously undefeated Scots.

“It sure helps to have the best quarterback in the state,” said Vikings senior Isaiah Oufiero afterwards.

Isaiah was on the receiving end of two of Eli’s TD passes.

Bonny Eagle (3-1) won the Class A state title in 2019 and OH coach Mark Soehren has great respect for them.

Zac Oja (23 carries 96 yards) scored the Scots touchdown

“We knew that it would be a battle today,” said Coach Soehren.  “They had a great drive to start the game.”

The Scots put a seventy-yard march together in an opening possession that was heavy on the run game.  They used 8 ½ minutes of the first quarter doing it and ended up with a Zac Oja nine-yard score.

The kick by Kyle Blaney was wide but the Scots led, 6-0, and had shown that they planned on controlling the clock.

Terrell Edwards (3) caught between Isaiah Oufiero (44) and Dillon Worster (58)

The Vikings (4-0) had other plans.

“We went down, 6-0, on their first drive but we made some adjustments and stopped the run,” explained Oxford Hills senior Wyatt Knightly afterwards.

“Our DB’s took care of everyone down the field, and everything started to go our way,” added Wyatt.

Oxford Hills tallied two very similar touchdowns in the second quarter to gain the lead for good.

In each 2nd quarter Vikings touchdown, there were first downs on; scrambles by QB Eli Soehren, passes to sophomore Teigan Pelletier, and sweeps by Matthew Doucette.

Eli Soehren (5) gets great blocking

“Eli is a heckuva quarterback,” said Scots coach Kevin Cooper.  “They have good receivers that are tough to stop.  Pelletier is so tall (6-3).”

Isaiah Oufiero had both scores in the decisive second period.  On each, Isaiah came out of the backfield and curled into an open spot in the end zone and was wide open.

The first OH touchdown was at 7:51 and covered nine yards.  The second was at 2:39 for five yards.

Battle in the air – Trevor Nevells (1) and Trevor Perkins (22) versus Tanner Bean-Bickford (8)

Eli Soehren missed the first extra-point attempt but was accurate on the second.

It was 13-6 at the half.

I haven’t mentioned the heat yet, but it was significant in the second half. 

Bonny Eagle tried their second onsides kick at the start of the second half.  Junior Lincoln Merrill was quick to intercept each attempt for Oxford Hills and give the Vikings good field position.

QB Eli Soehren (10-for-20) connected with senior Matthew Doucette to get into Scots territory in their third-period scoring drive.

The Vikings put up six points on a 28-yard pass to Teigan Pelletier.

Owen Sperrey (13) had an interception for Bonny Eagle

Teigan had the speed to get up the right sidelines and Eli had the arm to get the ball to him behind three defenders.

“Eli is a pretty accurate passer,” explained his father afterwards.  “He finds guys and he trusts them.  Our receivers are athletic and have great hands.  We probably have seven very good receivers now that we can pick and choose from.”

Eli’s extra point attempt hit the scoreboard but didn’t put a point on the scoreboard.  Oxford Hills was in front, 19-6, with 9:40 left in the third quarter.

No more points were scored the rest of the way.  Plenty of turnovers (five) and penalties, however.

Matthew Doucette on the edge

“After that opening score, I thought that the kids on our line played really well,” said OH coach Soehren.

The Scots pass defense also improved after OH’s early passing score in the second half.  They alertly collected two interceptions including one by sophomore Owen Sperrey in the end zone.

The game was originally scheduled for last night, but the downpours intervened.  Today’s 11AM start worked nicely with many attending.

Isaiah Oufiero: “Bonny Eagle is a great team.  They have a great offensive line.  Coach put in a good game plan, and we worked hard to execute it.  The heat was crazy out there.  I was throwing up in my face!”

Zac Oja (4) tries to strip the ball from Peter Morrison (34)

Wyatt Knightly: “Eli really stretched out the field on them.  He did an amazing job today.”

Coach Cooper: “Oxford Hills is a very good team.  We gave it our best and it wasn’t enough.  We’ve got to get better and come here again and win.”

Coach Soehren: “In the grand scheme of things it’s just another game.  However, if we want to be considered as one of the better teams, we have to beat very good teams like Bonny Eagle.  We made a lot of mental mistakes today.  We had a touchdown called back because of a silly mistake.  You’re lucky to beat a team like Bonny Eagle when you do that.”

Oxford Hills crowd

Eli Soehren’s day: three touchdown passes, ten-for-twenty passing (203 yards), sixty-two yards rushing to lead the team, one extra point, and one interception. (The young man can play and Isaiah’s “best quarterback in the state,” is certainly worth considering.)

(All pictures will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Zac Oja (4) after scoring Scots touchdown
Oxford Hills coach Mark Soehren
Nicholas Riker (52) flies after Isaiah Oufiero (44) along Scots sideline
Eli Soehren passes to Teigan Pelletier (8) who had 5 catches for 120 yards
Zac Oja (4) with three blockers to his right
Isaiah Oufiero (44) drops Nick Klein (9) for a loss
Teigan Pelletier (8) battles with Trevor Perkins and Trevor Nevells
Bonny Eagles coach Kevin Cooper
Brodi Rice (76) recovered a fumble
Eli Soehrens (5) scrambles
Isaiah Oufiero after the game

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Bridgton Academy edges Central Maine 3-2

Hilts Housen-Berglind and Mohamedamin Nur battle
Carmine DiPietrantonio

(North Bridgton ME) “We exchanged some words at halftime,” recalled Bridgton Academy soccer coach Jim Hopkins.

They worked.

The Wolverines upgraded their play noticeably in the second half and defeated Central Maine, 3-2, this afternoon.

Carmine DiPietrantonio headed home the game winner twenty-four minutes into the second half.

“I kept making runs at the net hoping that their goalie would make a mistake,” said Carmine.

When Zach Pacheco sent a direct kick high toward the net from the left, Carmine’s golden chance was about to arrive.

“He put in a great ball,” said Carmine of Zach’s direct kick.

Zach Pacheco’s direct kick reaches GK Dido Lumu

“It went through the goalie’s hands and onto my head,” recalled Carmine.

Carmine DiPietrantonio (12) heads the ball in for a score

“We always talk about getting numbers in the box and this time it paid off,” said Coach Hopkins.

Mohamed Abdikadir scores CM’s first goal

That BA goal was the only one scored in the second half.  Based on the way the Wolverines were playing, however, it was huge.

In the first half, both teams found space to operate in.  In the second half, the Mustangs (2-3) struggled to put passes together and make runs.

“I’m happy with our fight in the second half,” said Coach Hopkins post-game. “We pressured them and had two or three players near the ball.”

“Our guys played pretty well for about sixty minutes,” said CM coach Bryan Wallace.

Unfortunately, today’s game was ninety minutes long!

Central Maine was able to force Bridgton Academy (2-2-1) into costly mistakes in the first half with their pressure.

Baden McLaughlin (8) set up by Muntasir Ahmed for first goal

“We did pretty well on the press early on,” said Coach Wallace.  “Both of our goals came that way.”

Mustangs Mohamed Abdikadir and Mohmed Matan turned intercepted passes into first-half scores.

Bridgton Academy’s Muntasir Ahmed led his team’s response to the Mustangs’ goals with great setups for teammates Baden McLaughlin and Zach Pacheco.

“Baden, Zach, and Muntasir have had three great games in a row,” said Coach Hopkins.

“I was able to get around their wideback on those goals,” recalled Muntasir, “and make a good run.  I saw Baden and Zach.  I just kicked it in their direction and prayed.”

Mohmed Matan had CM’s second goal

Biggest save of the game was by Bridgton Academy goalie Alex Bachman 12 ½ minutes into the first half.

Two minutes earlier, Alex’s turnover had led to Central Maine’s second goal and a 2-1 lead for the visitors.

When CM’s Suab Nur broke in clean on Alex he had multiple scoring options.  Somehow Alex was able to get in front of the shot Suab took and gave no rebound.

A goal there and Central Maine has a 3-1 lead halfway through the first half.  Instead, a one-goal game continued until Zach Pacheco converted Muntisir Ahmed’s crossing pass to tie the score.

The best soccer games are the ones in which the officials are seldom involved.  Unfortunately, the officials had plenty to deal with over the final twenty minutes of this game. The rough play from both sides led to whistles, cards, and ejections.

Cards and ejections low-lighted the final twenty minutes of the game

“We let out emotions get the better of us,” said Coach Wallace.  “Physically we’ve shown that we can hang with some teams but mentally we’re not there yet”

“No way we wanted guys sent off,” said Coach Hopkins.  “Our discipline could have been better.”

Nice weather day with plenty of sunshine. 

Carmine DiPietrantonio: “We pressed them and moved the ball as a team.  We did everything we do in practice.”

The two teams are in different leagues, so this game doesn’t impact their league standings.  The CM website listed it as an “exhibition game.”

Central Maine Community College is in Auburn, Maine.

Alex Bachman and Garrett Smith each covered a half in goal for the Wolverines.  Dido Lumu went the distance in the Mustangs net.

(All the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Baden McLaughlin scored a goal for Bridgton Academy
Chris Kourtelidis and Abdilahi Abdi
Garrett Smith makes a save for BA
Ben Sykes gets a facial from Abdibaari Hersi
Zach Pacheco (10) and Muntasir Ahmed after BA’s second goal
Suab Nur
Muntasir Ahmed – two assists
First-half pressure on Dido Lumu
Alex Bachman robs Suab Nur in the first half
Michael Darasz
Baden McLaughlin (8) and Muntasir Ahmed after first BA goal
Saleh Brahim

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Fryeburg Academy downs Westbrook 26-8

Fryeburg Academy sophomore Gunnar Saunders passed for two touchdowns and rushed for another.
FA struggled with long snaps

(Fryeburg ME) This was hardly a smooth win for Fryeburg Academy.

There were fumbles and play-wrecking long snaps.

But the Raiders (2-1) still prevailed over formerly undefeated Westbrook, 26-8, on a very warm Saturday afternoon.

Quarterback Gunnar Saunders led the Raiders.  The FA sophomore rushed for one score and passed to Caleb Micklon for two others.  Gunnar also connected with Caleb for a two-point conversion.

“We were smacked around last week by Cape Elizabeth,” said Gunnar.  “We prepared hard this week knowing that Westbrook would be a tough opponent.”

The Raiders had a 20-0 halftime lead.

“We came out strong,” said Caleb Micklon post-game.  “We were ready.  Our coaches work us hard, and it paid off today.”

Dave Anderson and Brian Dorsett

The Blazers picked up a touchdown in the final quarter but struggled to gain yards most of the game.

“Fryeburg Academy is really good,” said Westbrook coach Brian Dorsett afterwards.  “They established the line of scrimmage and blew us off the ball a little bit.”

It certainly hurt the Blazers to be without starting QB Carter Dow.  “He had a little bit of illness, and he is getting some treatment today,” said Coach Dorsett.

The Blazers went with sophomore Tom Lewis at quarterback. “He did the best he could,” said Coach Dorsett.

Hayden Fox had runs for first downs in every FA scoring drive

Tom had a 31-yard touchdown run in the final quarter.

Fryeburg Academy may not have been flawless, but they made plenty of big plays to offset the glitches.

The Raiders running game, led by Hayden Fox and Caleb Micklon, was very effective.

“They kept blitzing, but we picked it up and still could run the ball,” said FA coach Dave Anderson afterwards.

Quarterback Gunnar Saunders was able to scoop up, jump for, or quickly retrieve the numerous errant long snaps and turn most of them into positive yardage.

Caleb Micklon scored two TDs

“We’re figuring out the snapping situation,” said Gunnar with a smile.

“We were in a funk snapping today and couldn’t get out of it,” said Coach Anderson.  “Hopefully, it won’t happen in a key situation moving forward.”

“We recovered from most of the bad snaps today, but we may not be as lucky against a good Wells team next week,” added Coach Anderson.

The Raiders lost the ball on their first possession but scored on their second possession.

The home team had two first-down-producing runs from Hayden Fox and a scrambling one from Gunnar Saunders.  A face-mask call against the Blazers put FA on the Westbrook seventeen.

Gunnar Saunders connected with Caleb Micklon in the right corner of the end zone at 2:42. The extra-points pass attempt was intercepted.

Tom Lewis (8) heads for the end zone

“He’s a great quarterback,” said Caleb of Gunnar.  “We practice a lot, and we click really well.”

Fryeburg’s next possession started in the second quarter. 

A 22-yard run by Hayden Fox got FA out of their own end.  Runs by Liam Quinn and Gunnar Saunders moved the Raiders deep into Blazers’ territory.

Two fumbles later, Fryeburg was in a fourth-and-goal situation from the Westbrook five. 

Same play.  Same result.  Different corner.

Liam Quinn scores from 4 yards out

“We run those in practice,” recalled Gunnar.  “Caleb is a good receiver.  He’s fast and I put it in the right spot, and he caught it.”

“The idea is to drive the defender to the inside and try to get open,” explained Caleb.

“We thought they gave us that stick-and-corner route,” said Coach Anderson.  “The defender bit and we threw a nice ball.  Gunnar made a nice read and threw it early.”

FA tried to pass again for the extra points, but Tom Lewis broke up the pass.

Fryeburg had a 12-0 lead.

Bobby Hallam (8) chases a fumble

They would build on that lead shortly.

A Blazers fumble (recovered by Will Hallam) set up FA at the Westbrook 29.

Gunnar Saunder passed to Jordan Zerner for a first down and Hayden Fox ran for a first down.  From the Westbrook four, Liam Quinn went off left guard for the score.

For the extra points, Gunnar passed to Caleb Micklon in the left flat and he took it in from there. 

Fryeburg Academy led 20-0 at halftime.

Jordan Dutton set up FA’s final touchdown with an interception. 

Hayden Fox had yet another run for a first down in a Raiders scoring drive.

The high snaps put FA in a fourth down situation from the Westbrook five.

Gunnar Saunders rolled left and went into the end zone untouched.

Dylan Anderson runs back a fumble

“I saw the open lane and I had to take it,” said Gunnar.

The extra-points rush failed but Fryeburg Academy had a comfortable, 26-0, lead with eleven minutes left in the game.

Credit Westbrook.  It was hot (80’s) and they were certainly tired, but they rallied to put points on the board.

Gavin Turner ran for a first down for the Blazers and then quarterback Tom Lewis turned the left corner and scored from thirty-one yards out.

“It was a quarterback keeper,” recalled Coach Dorsett.  “He reads the defensive end.  Jackson Young and Stevie White had key blocks.”

Dyland Anderson (74)

Tom Lewis connected with Aidan Taylor or the two-point conversion.

Most entertaining play of the game?  It had to be Westbrook’s defensive lineman Dylan Anderson picking up a Fryeburg fumble and taking off with it late in the game.  Dylan is big and probably not the fastest runner on the team but off he went with a convoy of blockers around him. He didn’t reach the end zone, but he certainly excited the Westbrook team.

“Dylan’s a senior and he made a good play,” said Coach Dorsett.  “I’m sure he’ll remember the play for a long time.”

Westbrook has York away next week.

Ben Eugley tackles Gunnar Saunders

“We’ll learn from today’s loss,” said Coach Dorsett.  “We have to get better with our alignment assignments.”

Westbrook used to be in Class B but after losing fifteen in a row by an average of thirty-six points, petitioned to move down to Class C and that is where they now are.

It turned into a hot afternoon.

Plenty of fan support on both sides.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Battle in the air between Westbrook’s Aidan Taylor and FA’s Caleb Micklon and Gabe McKenney
Loose ball – Bronson Damon and Gunnar Saunders
Tom Lewis tackled by Charles Campbell
Gunnar Saunders (12) points to Caleb Micklon (9) after touchdown
Hayden Fox had a big afternoon rushing
Gunnar Saunders rolls right to pass
Caleb Reid battles Jordan Dutton
Cam Johnson tackled by Caleb Reid
Luke Morrison chases Caleb Micklon
Loose ball
Aidan Taylor and Austin Warren battle over an extra points pass
Caleb Micklon sweeps right

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UMaine Fort Kent shuts out Bridgton Academy 6-0

Adil Iggoute (2 goals, 1 assist) in open space
Hannes Milan (30) and Brady Cormier (14)

(Bridgton ME) “They are the best team in the state, I think.”

“They” being the UMaine Fort Kent Bengals.

And who would argue with the assessment given by Bridgton Academy coach Jim Hopkins.

The Bengals (5-0-2) were masters at possessing the ball in their, 6-0, shutout this afternoon at BA.

“We moved the ball nicely,” said Coach Oniqueky Samuels.  “Our tactical awareness was very good.”

Adil Iggoute and Hannes Milan each had two goals for the visitors.

Romario Plunkett (23) set up for a goal

The Bengals erupted for five goals in the first thirty minutes and then were content to pass, pass, and pass some more.

FK goalie Pedro Ivaskoski was an integral part of their passing strategy.

“They hold each other accountable to keeping the ball,” said Coach Hopkins.

No doubt Fort Kent could have added more goals in the second half, but they settled for just one in the closing seconds.

“We can be effective in a lot of different ways,” said Coach Samuels.  “We worked on how well we can possess the ball.”

Coach Oniqueky Samuels

“Their coach did a good job of not running up the score,” added Coach Hopkins.

The Bengals hardly went past midfield for almost the entire second half, yet they possessed the ball most of the time. 

“It gave us practice in playing the ball in smaller areas,” said Coach Samuels.

“We always want to display good sportsmanship,” added Coach Samuels.  “We respect our opponents and appreciate the chance to play.  We can work on our game in many different ways.”

Adil Iggoute scored twice in the first ten minutes.

Adil Iggoute in on BA’s Alex Bachman

Forty seconds into the game, Adil drove a grounder by BA goalie Alex Bachman after a shot from the left.

Ten minutes later, Ted Fleuriscat’s corner kick was headed in by Adil from the middle of the box.

A Bridgton trip gave the Bengals a direct kick.  Marcell Holness blasted the free shot from the left into the right corner.

In another five minutes, Adil set up Romario Plunkett beautifully for a left-footed shot.

Nate Needle (16) chases a loose ball

So after eighteen minutes the deficit was already, 4-0.

“We just didn’t compete today,” said Coach Hopkins.

Before the half ended, Hannes Milan converted a turnover in the BA backfield into the Bengal’s fifth goal of the first half.

That fifth goal seemed to trigger a new approach by the visitors for the rest of the game.  They no longer tried to finish.  Instead, they were content to keep possession without threatening to score.

The Bengals did score (Hannes Milan) in the closing seconds of the game, but I strongly suspect that the shot on goal deviated significantly from FK’s second-half script.

Marcell Holness (7) scored on a direct kick

Coach Samuels: “We have forty players on the team, and they are from thirteen different countries.  On a regular year we play teams from Canada.  We’re always looking for games.  It’s good for the boys to travel.”

The Bengals were planning to travel to Vermont for an afternoon game with St. Michael’s tomorrow.

Coach Hopkins: “I wish I had been a neutral here today, I would have enjoyed watching them play.  We played them in the spring last year and competed and lost, 4-0.  Every single one of their players knows how to play.  They’re smart and they train a lot. We’ve been together for three weeks.”

Adil Iggoute

Adil Iggoute: “I am majoring in business management.  I hope to become a digital nomad and work remotely while traveling around the world.”

Nice weather and a terrific field to play on.

May try to cover BA’s soccer game at home on September 20th.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Hannes Milan (30) scores late in the game
Ben Sykes
Ornel Djomo
Goalie Pedro Ivaskoski
Jan Linz
Maxon Brochu (20)
Hannes Milan converts a first-half turnover
Muntasir Ahmed
Baden McLaughlin (8)
Goalie Pedro Ivaskoski up for a save
Bengals direct kick finds the BA net
Ted Fleuriscat and Adil Iggoute after the second goal
Ted Fleuriscat (11) looks to pass
Jahreed Murray (4) and Carmine DiPietrantonio (12)
Elvis Gomez (22), Nicolas Cortes (8), and Adil Iggoute (20) after first goal

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The Field of Dreams and other scenes at Hadlock Field

Ryan Fitzgerald and Devlin Granberg emerge from the corn
Grant Williams

(Portland ME) Plenty to see at Hadlock Field on Sunday afternoon.

The Field of Dreams Show.

Jay Groome.

The last game (most likely) at Hadlock this season.

Triston Casas.

And Slugger doing a flip?

Sunny skies with an accompanying breeze made being at the park pleasurable for all of us.

The Field of Dreams Show is special.  It’s the Sea Dogs’ biggest event.  Why?  Folks know the movie and the players are dressed in older uniforms.  Also, the crowd gets shown some love.

The walk in from the cornfield

Pre-Covid the players would go up into the stands after they had wandered in from the cornfield in center.  Today, they lined up along the foul lines and applauded the crowd.

Plenty of photo-ops for everyone.

The opponent today was the Binghamton Rumble Ponies.  They’re in the New York Mets system.

There was a total of sixteen top-thirty prospects on the rosters of the two teams.  Only FOUR of them (Hayden Senger & Carlos Rincon for Binghamton and Jay Groome and Ronaldo Hernandez for Portland) actually were in the game.  A bit disappointing.

Jay Groome was the winning pitcher

But Boston’s prospect #8, Jay Groome, was pitching for Portland.  I hadn’t seen him in action before. Today he looked very good.

The 23-year-old was drafted in 2016 by the Red Sox in the first round (#12).  It has taken Jay a while to get to AA with Tommy John surgery a key part in the delay.  Jay pitched his first AA game last week in New Hampshire and had ten strikeouts.  Today it was nine K’s. 

In Portland’s (10-3) win this afternoon, Jay pitched the first six innings and allowed just two hits. The 6’6” lefty had batters struggling to make contact for most of the time.

It may be rushing things, but I wonder how far away the next levels are for a lefty who strikes people out.  Might Jay start at Portland next April before quickly moving on to Worcester?

The players applaud the fans

The Sea Dogs are on the road in Hartford (CT) next week to finish the regular season.  There is still a chance they could make the two-team, Northeast League playoffs.  They’ll need “help” from teams ahead of them to get it done.  I’m not counting on it happening, but you never know.

It has been nice to have games to attend.  Being back, but being kept off the field, has been a struggle for picture taking but I do have a 600mm lens!  I have also learned that I could get some pretty good shots through the backstop mesh.

One of the league changes that was implemented this year has teams playing in one place Tuesday-Sunday and then traveling (if needed) on Monday.  It must save money for the teams.  The league will use the same format next season.

Triston Casas and Tyreque Reed

Assuming there are no Hadlock playoff games, Triston Casas won’t be seen in AA again, in my opinion. Boston’s #2 prospect should start in AAA Worcester next year if not at Fenway. He’s that good with stats to confirm it!

Triston is a powerful, dedicated athlete.  In every game I’ve been at I’ve seen Triston as the most driven player when it comes to pregame activities.  He’s all business.

The 2018 first-rounder did not play today but I found him in the Field of Dreams Show.  He was the one carrying a cellphone and taking pictures.

Hayden Senger of Binghamton

Triston didn’t stay in the dugout during the game.  I did get a (final) picture of him leaving the park for maybe the last time?

I have always been Slugger’s top fan.  (I may have been the only one giving him a chance in his each-game race against young fans.)  I’ve missed that racing activity this season.  However, the big guy has been in the crowd regularly glad-handing and posing for pictures in 2021.

I have worried that Slugger might be getting out of shape minus his every-game racing.  It’s easy to slough off when the season is over.

I’m pleased to report that Slugger has kept in shape.  He came out between two of the innings this afternoon and did a very active dance routine.  The highlight, however, was the big guy doing a backflip.  It looked dangerous and I was worried for him as he attempted it.  But, not to worry, over he flipped with a great landing!  I’m proud of him.

Slugger does a dangerous backflip

I was hoping to get a look at the Mets #2 prospect (Brett Baty) but couldn’t find him.  He was listed as wearing #22 but I discovered, unfortunately, that another player (Manny Rodriguez) was also listed as wearing #22.  And I thought that high school rosters were confusing!

I did see Mets’ prospect #24, Carlos Rincon.  Carlos was picked up in a trade with the Dodgers this year. Today, Binghamton’s DH had a three-run homer.

I also saw Mets’ prospect #21, catcher Hayden Senger.  Hayden was selected by the Mets in the 24th round in 2018. He has been a big surprise so far with his quick progress in the Mets farm system.

Ronaldo Hernandez (Boston’s 22nd prospect) was in action today as a DH.  He had a part in Portland’s five-run second inning today.

Continued thanks, from me, to my friend Chris Cameron for his part in arranging my visits to Hadlock.  Things always seem to work without a hitch with him in charge.

I have finally figured out where to park to avoid the $10 close-to-the-stadium parking. I also need the exercise!

Looking forward to more time at Hadlock in 2022.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Jay Groome had nine strikeouts in six innings
Portland catcher Roldani Baldwin
Jay Groome ready to pitch
Grant Williams leads off second base
Jeisson Rosario scores a run in the second inning
Hudson Potts takes up from third base
Hayden Senger in the Binghamton dugout
Jeisson Rosario makes a running catch
Devlin Granberg ready to bat
Jay Groome checked by the umpires
Triston Casas
Triston Casas leaves Hadlock Field for the last time?
Antoine Duplantis and Josh Hejka
Wagner Lagrange
Yoel Romero and Raul Beracierta
Field of Dreams narrator and Sea Dogs radio announcer Emma Tiedemann

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Rookie Nick Wilson wins second Bandits feature

Nick Wilson with his crew after winning tonight’s Bandits’ feature
Nick Wilson won for the 2nd time

(Oxford ME) If your race car isn’t working the way you want, the usual remedy is to upgrade something.

Tonight’s Bandits winner Nick Wilson chose to go in the opposite direction…..he downgraded and got himself a victory.

“The car was awful in the heat,” said Nick. “We didn’t know what to do about it.  We took the new left tire off and replaced it with an old one.  I didn’t think it would work, but it surprised us.”

In the twenty-lap feature, Nick took the lead from pole-sitter Jeremy Farrar in Lap Three and never let go.

This was Nick’s second win in his rookie season with the Bandits. 

On July 25th,Nick won for the first time.

In that first win Nick led the entire race surviving one restart.

Nick Wilson in front (53) protecting the bottom

In both races, Nick did a remarkable job protecting the bottom.

Luke Mowatt finished second

“Nick was good,” said runner-up Luke Mowatt post-race tonight.

“They probably were faster than me,” said Nick of his challengers who never were far away.  “I was protecting the bottom.  It’s hard to go on the outside.”

Luke Mowatt confirmed that point: “The track was hot and still pretty greasy.  I wouldn’t have stood a chance out there.”

With passing opportunities minimalized, the race came down to seeing if the leader (Nick Wilson) would make a mistake.  In today’s twenty-lap feature it didn’t happen.  The order of finish (Nick, Luke, Alex Mowatt, Jeff Libby, Jeremy Farrar) was established early and stayed in place lap after lap.

Jeff Libby gets the lead late in the heat

The Bandits eight-lap heat was a different story.  Jeff Libby skillfully worked his way past both Jeremy Farrar and Nick Wilson late in the race to win.

Luke Mowatt had a remarkable run over the past fourteen races.  He finished either first or second.  Luke led the Bandits with seven wins.

Alex Mowatt won the points race for the second straight year. Alex was in the top three in every race but two of them.

“It would have been a lot closer in points if Luke didn’t have a bad start to the season,” admitted Alex.

Luke had his car get wrecked in a heat in May and didn’t make that feature as a result.  He got no points on that occasion.

“It would have been pretty close in points if I hadn’t missed that one feature,” said Luke.

Alex Mowatt finished third but still led the Bandits in points this season

“Overall, we had a really good year,” said Alex.  “The highlight was winning on 250 weekend.  I hadn’t done that before.”

It sounded to me after the race as if the Mowatt brothers won’t be as active in the Bandits Division next year.

“I’m not going to race a full season in the Bandits,” said Luke.  “It gets to be a lot every weekend.  Maybe I’ll try something else.”

“I’m not really sure what division I’ll race in,” added Alex.  “I might take some time off.”

Both of the Mowatts work for Bancroft Contracting Corporation.

Nick Wilson (senior at Oxford Hills) was named the top rookie in the Bandits Division.  “I’d say I had a pretty good rookie season,” he said.  Nick had two firsts and two seconds in 2021.

Nick Wilson on his way to the checkered flag in the Bandits feature

Nick told me post-race that his #53 was his grandfather’s number.

Alex’s #11 and Luke’s #22 were numbers they said that they have always had.  “It was on my go-kart,” said Alex.

Luke Mowatt tries the outside on the final lap

Nice weather (low 70’s) with sunshine.  The 4PM start gave this photographer some daylight to shoot in.  Always appreciated.

I have enjoyed watching the races and talking to the drivers.  Thanks to the Mayberrys for letting me do it.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Jeremy Farrar started on the pole in the feature and faced plenty of pressure in the early going.
Jeff Libby wins the Bandits heat
Alex Mowatt and Logan MacDougall
Fender bender in the Ladies heat
Amari Parker’s damaged car draws plenty of interest

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Ava Giacobba (4 goals) leads York to 9-1 win over Fryeburg Academy

Senior Ava Giacobba (5) found space in the Fryeburg Academy end
Ella Boissonneault splits two defenders

(Fryeburg ME) Labor Day was a holiday for most of us.

Not the York Wildcats girls soccer team.

“We worked on finishing yesterday and put it into practice today,” said York coach Nick Hanlon following a convincing, 9-1, win over Fryeburg Academy.

It was the home opener for the Raiders (0-1) and things certainly didn’t go the way they hoped.

“There are a lot of things we have to work on,” admitted FA coach Dave Hart afterwards.

Senior Ava Giacobba had a big afternoon for the Wildcats (2-0) getting two goals in each half.

“We have been working hard in practice,” she said.  “We have really improved.”

York coach Nick Hanlon

“The girls have dedicated a lot of time even on their own when we didn’t get to play at all in games as a group,” explained Coach Hanlon.  “They also played in a league apart from the school.  In the summer they were coming out 3-4 times a week to play.”

All that work seemed evident this afternoon.  The Wildcats had a clear advantage in time of possession because of their movement to space and the accurate passes from teammates that found them in the open space.

York had very few long passes, just a series of connections.  The Raiders ended up doing a lot of chasing as they tried to reclaim possession.  When FA over-committed the Wildcats took advantage.

“We seized our opportunities,” said Coach Hanlon.

Ava Giacobba’s first two goals were on break-ins. Both happened in the first 2 ½ minutes and came on rebounds.

Alexis Osterhaus (two goals)

“They scored twice early,” recalled Coach Hart.  “It’s hard to rebound from that.”

Freshman Alexis Osterhaus had the other two York first-half goals.

In the first one, Alexis intercepted a short goal-kick and returned it right back on FA goalie Ginger Priestman.  In the second one, Alexis put in her own rebound.

Sophomore Ana Maillett got Fryeburg on the board with 3 ½ minutes remaining in the first half.

“Ana was in the right place at the right time,” said Coach Hart.

Ana Maillett scored for the Raiders

The Wildcats had a comfortable 4-1 halftime lead, but they used the halftime to set some goals for the second half.

“We wanted to score on a corner kick,” said Coach Hanlon, “and we wanted to have a couple of series where we were connecting 10-12 passes together.”

Mission accomplished on both counts.

Ava Giacobba scored her third goal on a long shot into the upper left corner.

Ava’s fourth goal was set up by Chloe Bourque’s corner kick (27:24).  Chloe’s CK ended up in the middle and Ava headed it in.

Battle for control

Those two goals boosted the Wildcats advantage to, 6-1.

The rest of the way, York had goals from Ava Fontaine, Shea Haseltine, and Emily Rainforth. 

Besides the goal-scoring, the Wildcats did string multiple connecting passes together as they had hoped to do.

“We’re trying to improve half-by-half and game-by-game,” said Coach Hanlon.

“We had our good moments,” said Coach Hart.  “We knew that they were a strong team but I’m not going to let our girls off the hook.  We’ll work on improving organizationally and defensively.”

York goalkeeper Allie MacDonald had a very quiet afternoon in net.  Ginger Priestman, however, faced a host of tough shots in both halves as the Raiders goalie.

Ginger Priestman

Ava Giacobba: “It feels great to be back out playing with my best friends.”

Perfect weather for playing/watching soccer.

Coach Hart is in his first season at FA.  He coached boys soccer at Kennett High School for seven years.

Covering high school sports in the early part of a season is almost always an adventure for those of us attempting it.  Why?  Rosters.  Coaches aren’t certain of their players, so they delay putting a roster together, or a roster is set up early and changes are added or subtracted without an update.  I got one roster today at the game, while an online roster (from the Western Maine site) for the other team was missing a girl who scored a goal today. *The “missing girl” has now been identified (Ava Fontaine) thanks to help from the York Athletic Department.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Alexis Osterhaus and Allison Southwick
Emily Rainforth goal celebrated
Loose ball in the Fryeburg Academy end that Ava Fontaine (25) turned into a goal
Alexis Osterhaus chased by Ana Maillett
Emily Rainforth between Phoebe Sartory and Ana Maillett
Allison Southwick
Ava Giacobba and Chloe Bourque
Chloe Bourque chases a loose ball
Goal scorers Alexis Osterhaus, Ava Giacobba, and Shea Haseltine
Shea Haseltine
Ava Giacobba and Emily Chaine
Chloe Bourque and Brooke Emery
Ava Giacobba and Katie McIntyre
Ava Giacobba lines up a shot

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Breeanna Spaulding gets tenth win

Breeanna Spaulding wins another Ladies Division race
Feature win for Breeanna Spaulding

(Oxford ME) They say that life has two certainties: death, and taxes.

Maybe it’s time for a third: Breeanna Spaulding will dominate in the Ladies Division.

Breeanna was at it again today at Oxford Plains Speedway easily winning for the tenth time.

“Some weeks I really have to work for it,” said Breeanna afterwards.  “Some weeks it’s easy.”

This was one of those “easy” ones.

Breeanna came out of the second row in the 15-lap feature and had the lead for good on the third lap.

In the heat race (8 laps) the same thing happened.  In both races, Breeanna got by Kasie Kolbe on the outside, and sailed home unchallenged.

“I’ve enjoyed racing with the ladies,” added Breeanna, “but I wish it was a little more competitive.”

Chloe Kiley – second place

Chloe Kiley ended up second and Kasie Kolbe finished third.

This was the second time that Chloe has finished in the runner-up spot this season.

“I was good on the outside,” Chloe said, “but once I got to the bottom there was not a lot.”

Last week Chloe won for the only time in 2021. 

That race was not a pleasant memory for Breeanna Spaulding.  The 27-year-old was cleanly in front with another win just a few turns away when suddenly her car came to a stop and the other cars moved by her.  What happened?  “The wires burnt onto the manifold, and it made the car die,” said Breeanna.  “I had no choice but to stop racing, unfortunately.”

Chloe took advantage of Breeanna’s car trouble.  “I was right behind her when her car quit,” said Chloe.  “I’m happy I didn’t hit her.  For a second, I didn’t know what to do but we made it through.”

Breeanna told me that she will race in the Outlaws Division next year.  “We bought a new car.  We’ll have our current car for the ladies and use my new car for the Outlaws.”

Breeanna Spaulding wins heat

After dominating the Ladies Division in 2019 (won first ten races), Breeanna tried the Outlaws last year.  It didn’t go very well.

“My car couldn’t really keep up,” she said.  “We had some altercations with other people.  It just wasn’t worth it. But now we have a new car.”

Chloe’s car (#16) is currently being used in both the Outlaws and the Ladies.  Jon Emerson has been driving it in the Outlaws.

“I’m not sure about next year yet,” added Chloe.  “I might buy another car and have two to race.”

Chloe does know a thing or two about buying cars since she currently sells cars at Bessey Motor Sales.

Breeanna in the lead over Chloe in the feature

Kasie Kolbe was third in the feature and Amara Parker was fourth.

The weather was cool but not cold.

I liked the 4PM start because the more daylight the easier it is for picture taking.

Only one more week for points. 

A month from now I’m back in Amesbury (MA) teaching driver’s education part-time.  Talk about dangerous!

(All the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

First turn in the Ladies feature with Kasie Kolbe leading
Breeanna Spaulding pressures Kasie Kolbe in the third lap of the feature
Amara Parker’s car
Chloe Kiley’s car waiting to go in the Outlaws feature
Number one in points in the Ladies Division

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Brunswick shuts out Oxford Hills 5-0

Senior Mia Klimash scored twice on penalty kicks
Alexis Morin (9) scored twice for Brunswick

(Paris ME) Brunswick may have started slowly but when the game versus Oxford Hills was over, they owned a 5-0 shutout on Thursday afternoon in the season opener for both squads.

“I thought we were second to the ball in the first half,” said Brunswick coach Martyn Davison post-game.  “It’s our first game and we’re not as fit as we need to be.  Once we got up to the speed of the game we dominated.”

The Vikings were only down by a goal after a half, but things went south after the break.

“The majority of the possession in the first half was in their defensive end,” explained OH coach Brittany Moore afterwards, “but that penalty in the first half changed the tempo of the game.  Then they immediately got another penalty kick to begin the second half.”

Freshman Alexis Morin played a key role in the Dragons’ victory in just her first game on the team.

Maddy Herrick robs Alexis Morin late in the first half

Alexis’ persistent toward-the-net style forced Oxford Hills into the second penalty shot.

Alexis would go on to score Brunswick’s next two goals.

“I coach youth soccer in Brunswick, so I had seen her (Alexis) play,” recalled Coach Davison. “She does a fantastic job.”

Senior Mia Klimash took and made both of Brunswick’s penalty kicks.

I asked Coach Davison about the PKs, noting that both times Mia had shot to the right.

“I never watch,” he told me, “I’m superstitious.”

Mia’s first penalty kick was awarded after an OH handball in the box, nine minutes into the game.  Mia drove home a low ball to the right corner. That was the only first-half goal for the Dragons.

However, in the closing seconds of the half, Brunswick came very, very close to getting another when Alexis Morin got in behind the Vikings defense. She was one-on-one with OH goalie Maddy Herrick but came away empty.

Loose ball in the Brunswick end in the first half

“I told Maddy before the game that ‘once you make a decision, go with it,’” said Coach Moore.  “She made some good saves.”

Maddy’s remarkable save kept the deficit to one goal but that changed quickly in the second half after a second penalty call.

Brunswick coach Martyn Davison

Alexis’ aggressive style led to a trip in the box by an OH defender just 1 ½ minutes into the second half.

Mia Klimash again was selected for the PK.  This time her kick was to the upper corner of the right side.

Now down, 2-0 the Vikings didn’t go away.  They persisted, had chances, but couldn’t find a finisher.

“We took care of our chances, and they didn’t,” said Coach Davison.

Alexis scored her first goal after getting a long lead pass from Riley McAlister on the left side. Alexis finished her run with a shot that looked (to me) to have deflected off a defender.  That was at 28:15.

Later, more pressure from Alexis from the left on a clean break in.  Her second goal made it 4-0 at 13:09.

Molly Taub scored the 5th Brunswick goal

Senior Molly Taub tallied Brunswick’s final goal at 3:50. Molly approached from the right and pounded a shot into the upper left side.

Brunswick was impressive but they have two games ahead with Camden.  “They have won four straight titles,” said Coach Davison.  “We don’t play them for a while.”

Two weeks ago, Coach Davison thought he had a great team set up for this season.  “I still think we can be great but my top goalie and striker both transferred to private schools.  I also lost my center defender.”

Coach Moore is in her first season coaching at Oxford Hills.  “I coached boys’ soccer at Vinal Tech in Middletown (CT) last season.”

Brunswick goalie Sophia Morin

Coach Moore: “I have been impressed with the girls I’m coaching.  They learn fast and they want to get better.  Those PK fouls are definitely things we can work on.”

Fans yelling at the referees.  It never gets old…..but it should. 

The name of the Oxford Hills goalie is Maddy Herrick.  I heard the name and thought it sounded familiar.  I hope I have this right but I’m quite sure that Maddy also races in the Rookie Division at Oxford Plains Speedway.  She knows how to make quick decisions!

Nice weather, a working scoreboard, and rosters……….what more could I ask for?

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Maddy Miller (14) and Ashley Richardson (15) in the air on a corner kick
Helen Maher (17) and Quin DiBiase (18)
Dragons celebrate a goal
Hannah Lay
Vikings chase Molly Taub
Vikings Ashley Richardson
Jane Leonard (7), Mia Klimash (8), Celia Melanson (8)
Vikings Lucy Leonard
Bella Devivo (1) and Shannon Flanagan (13)
Mia Klimarsh (8) goal celebrated
Vikings Gabrielle Tibbetts
Battle for control
Vikings Celia Melanson
Maddy Miller (14) and Lizzy Dieterich (22) pregame

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