Edward Little’s Ahmed Safi keeps the ball in bounds while being pressured by Camden Hills’ Owen Rokuos during Thursday afternoon’s soccer game in Auburn.
AUBURN — On a field that is known to make the ball bounce a little harder and a little farther than most others, the home team received the friendly bounces that helped give it a big mid-season victory.
Edward Little used one of those bounces to score the only goal and win an intense KVAC Class A North boys’ soccer game against Camden Hills, 1-0, Thursday afternoon.
Despite plenty of action, the game was scoreless approaching the final 10 minutes of regulation. The Windjammers (4-2-2) were able to stuff a cross from Joel Musese intended for Nick Hathaway, but Tyler Morin pounced on the loose ball at the top of the box and struck a low shot into the goal while Camden Hills goalie Lucas Boetsch was on the ground.
“We knew we were going to have to beat him low,” EL coach Tim Mains said. “We knew we weren’t going to beat him high. It took a half to really settle in and sort of understand that I think. In the second half we were able to get a lucky bounce and drive one low by him.”
The Red Eddies (7-1-1) had few chances to get a quality shot on Boetsch, but they were able to get the right opportunity at the right time. The Windjammers, meanwhile, had a few golden opportunities that were wasted.
A Camden Hills corner kick late in the first half went through the box without a touch by either team. Early in the second half, Eliot Matlack couldn’t get a foot on a chance near the left post. Ben Owre tried tapping one in around the same spot a few minutes later, but the attempt rolled wide. Owre had a header and an off-balance shot both go wide right, and glanced a shot off the left post with three minutes to play.
“There was plenty of chances, but ball didn’t bounce our way today,” Camden Hills coach Ryan Hurley said.
Most of the Windjammers’ chances came off a counter-attack that Mains called “extremely dangerous.” Much of the visitors’ focus was on preventing the Red Eddies from getting chances. The Windjammers succeeded in that aspect.
“I think we did a good job limiting them,” Hurley said. “Most of the stuff they got was from like 25 yards, and obviously Lucas is a tremendous goalie, so I don’t really worry too much when people are shooting from 25.”
EL’s attack of Ahmed Safi, Musese and Christian Beliveau was able to get the ball into the box, but getting shots off proved difficult. Defender-turned-midfielder Alex Thompson also wasn’t able to find many openings for longer shots.
“They do a really nice job defensively,” Mains said. “They really overload ball side. I’ve never seen anything like it. They must have had seven defenders on one side of the field at a time, and maybe one on the other. But that’s the luxury of having a big keeper. It’s hard to play a ball over the top of him.”
Boetsch was called up into the offensive end late in the game to take free kicks. He was able to show off his booming leg, but each blast went for naught.
Boetsch made four saves in goal for the Windjammers, while EL goalie Noah Sterling stopped all three shots he faced on goal.
“They’re a top team, and I consider us a top team. So any time we can come out with a win against a good team like that, I’ll take it,” Mains said.
Hurley said he wouldn’t mind seeing the Red Eddies again in the playoffs.
“Why not?” Hurley said.
Edward Little’s Christian Beliveau and Camden Hills’ Marshall Merriam try to keep control of the soccer ball during Thursday afternoon’s soccer game in Auburn.Camden Hills’ Andy Pitcairn braces as Edward Little’s Nick Hathaway winds up for a kick during Thursday afternoon’s soccer game in Auburn.Camden Hills’ Havana Lyman and Ahmed Safi battle for control of the ball during Thursday afternoon’s soccer game in Auburn.Camden Hills’ Andy Pitcairn gets tangled with Edward Little’s Nick Hathaway during Thursday afternoon’s soccer game in Auburn.Edward Little’s Jamal Issack goes airborne in an attempt to regain control of the ball as Camden Hills’ Havana Lyman, Quinn Brown and Eliot Matlack look on during Thursday afternoon’s soccer game in Auburn.Camden Hills’ Marshall Merriam tries to step in front of Edward Little’s Tyler Morin as the two struggle for control of the ball during Thursday afternoon’s soccer game in Auburn. Camden Hills’ Max Moore steps in to the play.Edward Little’s Joel Musese moves to the ball as Camden Hills’ Max Moore tries to keep up during Thursday afternoon’s soccer game in Auburn.Edward Little’s Barrak Abrdraba keeps his eye on the ball as Camden Hills’ Havana Lyman moves in during Thursday afternoon’s soccer game in Auburn.Edward Little’s Joel Musese uses some footwork to keep the ball in bounds as Camden Hills’ Max Moore keeps the pressure on during Thursday afternoon’s soccer game in Auburn.Edward Little’s Christian Beliveau moves the ball towards the goal and Camden Hills’ Havana Lyman moves in to kick the ball out of the goal zone during Thursday afternoon’s soccer game in Auburn.