(North Bridgton ME) “We exchanged some words at halftime,” recalled Bridgton Academy soccer coach Jim Hopkins.
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.
“It went through the goalie’s hands and onto my head,” recalled Carmine.
“We always talk about getting numbers in the box and this time it paid off,” said Coach Hopkins.
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.
“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.”
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.
“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.)