Oak Hill’s Nico Soucy, left and Lisbon’s Glenn Hill battle for the ball during Saturday morning’s soccer game at Oak Hill.
WALES — Lisbon boys’ soccer coach Dan Sylvester said that Noah Austin needs to step up in his role on the team this season after losing 16 players from last year’s squad. Austin answered with a hat trick that led the Greyhounds to a 4-0 win over Oak Hill on Saturday morning.
“He’s been here since his freshman year, he’s got the experience,” Sylvester said. “He knows that he has to step up in his role. He is patient and he has to be our spark plug and our leader out there. Today was a good day for him, he was in the right place at the right time.”
At the right time, indeed, as Austin netted two second-half goals to capitalize on the possession advantage Lisbon held throughout the game.
“It’s not all about me, my guys had to come forward and get the ball,” Austin said. “Cam (Poisson), our forward, had a great touch. Everyone was dishing it into the middle, and if it wasn’t there I’d give it back and they’d pass it right back.”
To open the game, Lisbon held control of the ball for the most part as both teams were feeling each other out. The Greyhounds got on the board 12 minutes in when a free kick came into the penalty box and was tipped into a crowd of Lisbon players, last of which was forward Steve Martin, who tapped in the opening goal.
Lisbon held possession for much of the game, giving Oak Hill’s goalkeeper Cole Whitten a workout as the Greyhounds pelted 22 shots throughout the match.
“I thought possession-wise it was in our favor,” Sturtevant said. “I thought that we tried to get the ball by defenders, slip the ball through, up and over — I thought we did a good job of that. We were creating opportunities.”
The second-biggest created opportunity was 24 minutes into the match, when Austin scored his first goal after a deflected shot by a teammate landed at his foot in the middle of the penalty box.
Just before half, Oak Hill’s Brady Bangs got loose on the right side and slid a shot across the net, narrowly missing the far post for the Raiders’ best chance of the game. While the Greyhounds got shut out, Oak Hill coach Bob Worth is excited about the possibilities with his young team.
“We were taking good shots at the end, encouraging each other,” Worth said. “I like the level of professionalism we maintained, as well. It got a little chippy at times, but I was happy that all the fouls were regular fouls and not chippy fouls … I expect they’ll continue to improve.”
In the second half, Lisbon wasted no time at all to get Austin on the scoresheet again, as a chipped ball over the top from Martin was easily slotted home for Lisbon’s third goal. With 10 minutes left, Austin got a through ball between two defenders from Cam Poisson that left Austin in open space, so much space that Austin let out an “Oh, yeah” on his way to the hat trick.
As Oak Hill’s deficit grew intermittently throughout the game, the fouls began to rack up, as well as the physical play. Lisbon’s Dylan George was ejected with four minutes remaining in the game for something said to a referee.
“We have to have the mindset of we have to let things go and have to play our game,” Sylvester said. “We can’t get caught up in other things. Just being patient, we will straighten things out.”
As for Lisbon looking ahead, the Western Maine regional finalists from a year ago are looking to see what happens in the playoffs.
“First goal is make the playoffs, then anything can happen,” Austin said. “You never know what could happen in the playoffs.”
Lisbon’s Noah Austin, middle, and Oak Hill goalie Cole Whitten, right, contend for a corner kick during Saturday’s soccer game in Wales.Oak Hill’s Max Hall makes a slide tackle to knock the ball out of bounds before Lisbon’s Cam Poisson can get a shot off during Saturday’s game at Oak Hill.Lisbon’s DJ Douglass, right, watches as Oak Hill goalie Cole Whitten makes a save during the second half of Saturday’s game in Wales.