AUBURN — The momentum had turned to the visiting Brunswick Dragons after Noah Greene buried a shot into the lower left-hand corner of the Edward Little net to tie the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference boys’ soccer game at 1-1 on Tuesday.
As the time ticked away in the first half, the teams appeared headed to the intermission still deadlocked. That is until Red Eddie Oliver Hall placed a corner kick in front of the Brunswick goal, leading to a Wol Maiwen header with six seconds left, giving EL the lead for good en route to 5-1 victory.
In their two wins, the Red Eddies (2-0) have tallied eight goals, led by the 6-foot-4 Maiwen’s three, including a second goal Tuesday via a throw-in by Jake Jackson 5:48 into the second frame that staked the hosts to a 3-1 lead.
Hall, who assisted on a second corner-kick goal by Joshua Lavigne with 12:52 remaining in the game, felt his team’s set pieces were important.
“They are not only important for scoring opportunities, but they give us a chance to regroup,” Hall said. “When you’re working really hard, it gives us a chance to set everything up. Plus we have someone who is 6-foot-4 that can head things in. That is helpful.”
“We understand that we won’t get a lot of scoring opportunities, so when we get corner kicks or throw-ins we are doing are best to take advantage of that, winning balls in the air and pushing everybody up,” said EL coach Tim Mains, whose Red Eddies visit 1-1 Mt. Ararat on Friday at 3:30 p.m.
Brunswick coach Mark Roma agreed that the Dragons struggled at key points of the contest, with three set-piece goals costing Brunswick.
“We certainly made it look like it was Mount Everest, and we just weren’t good enough on offense, didn’t defend well enough, and in all three facets of the game we were not good enough,” said Roma, whose Dragons visit Lewiston on Friday at 7 p.m. “I thought the way we came back against Mt. Blue, being down 2-0, would give us momentum. Today, we dug ourselves too far down, and we are not good enough to come back from that.”
EL jumped out to a 1-0 lead as Hassan Jibril chipped a long pass to Christian Beliveau, who tipped a shot past Brunswick starting goaltender Liam Hemberger (three saves).
Over the next 15 minutes, Brunswick pushed the Red Eddies defense, as Everett Horch, Nolan Lyne, Lane Foushee, Josh Musica and Greene earned good looks at EL netminder Mack Sampson’s goal.
Greene found the equalizer for the Dragons with 5:36 left until halftime. Brunswick forced Sampson to make five saves in the opening 40 minutes.
But, a throw-in by Jackson led to EL’s first corner kick as the time ticked down, and Hall’s service found the head of Maiwen for a 2-1 lead.
“It was the set piece stuff, something that we should have been able to absorb,” Roma said. “There were stretches where we had a good grip on the game. We will have to see where it got away from us.”
Maiwen’s second goal made for a two-goal contest, and EL added two more tallies down the stretch, including a perfectly placed blast by Chase Martin with 5:31 remaining.
“We responded after they scored, and that was encouraging, especially for a young team with just four starters returning,” Mains said. “You’re not sure how they will respond, and we tucked one in there and scored another one early in the second. It was big.”
Sampson was solid in the cage, turning away eight Brunswick shots. The Red Eddies finished with an 8-4 edge in corner kicks, and both teams registered nine shots on goal.