Edward Little’s Joel Musese, right, throws up a leg to try to intercept a pass for Lewiston’s Ayub Hassan during Monday afternoon’s game in Auburn.
AUBURN — The first go-around of the season between the Edward Little and Lewiston boys’ soccer teams had everything one would expect from a rivalry game.
High emotion. Competitive play. Momentum swings. Tense moments.
The only thing that was missing was a winner.
The Blue Devils took a 1-0 lead into halftime, but the Red Eddies answered early in the second half before holding on at the end of regulation and through two five-minute overtimes for a 1-1 tie Monday at Edward Little High School.
“Any time Lewiston plays Edward Little, it’s going to be a battle,” EL coach Tim Mains said.
“These kids live for this,” Lewiston coach Mike McGraw said. “It’s right there on that schedule, and as soon as they find the schedule they circle that game. Both teams do.”
Two teams with plenty of skill played a relatively defensive game, with scoring chances few and far between. But the Blue Devils (2-1-1) came close on one of those scoring chances in the opening minute before EL goalie Noah Sterling beat Lewiston’s Muktar Ali to a loose ball at the top of the box.
Lewiston goalie Cooper Millett had to make his first tough save just under 15 minutes in, diving to deflect a Red Eddies (3-0-1) shot that led to a corner kick.
Sterling (nine saves) and Millett (six saves) were both playing in their first varsity EL-Lewiston game.
Sterling made two tough saves against Yusuf Mohamed with just over 11 minutes to go before halftime, but wasn’t able to stop a shot by Bilal Hersi off a failed EL clear less than a minute later.
The goal was Hersi’s eighth through four games this season.
Hersi nearly made it 2-0 a minute later, but his shot from inside the box sailed high.
The Red Eddies didn’t wait too long into the second half to tie the game up. Joel Musese took a corner kick from the right side and sent it past the goal, where Ibn Khalid and Jacob Kyajohnian were well-placed to both go for a header that made it past Millett. Khalid was credited with the goal.
“At halftime my assistant coach (Corey Morin) … said, ‘Look, we’ve put a couple balls far on corners and no one’s been there. Someone just hang out back on the edge of the 6(-yard box), and it’s going to be there,'” Mains said. “And we had two guys back on the edge of the six. I think they both kind of had a half-goal there. I think it hit both their heads.”
EL kept the pressure up after the goal, but soon faded and Lewiston grabbed momentum.
Yet the Blue Devils couldn’t take advantage of the metaphorical wind at their backs, failing to score on three on-target shots and missing on a handful of others.
“I think we might have had more territorial advantage, but we didn’t finish like we could have, and that’s just a process,” McGraw said.
Sterling’s biggest save of the second half came with six minutes left, when stopped a Mohamed shot point-blank inside the 6-yard box.
He had to make just one save during the two overtime periods, a low shot by Noralddin Othman that nearly squirted between Sterling’ legs with 75 seconds left in the first overtime.
Ali missed wide 30 seconds into the first overtime, and Noor Aden missed high with 30 seconds left in the second overtime.
“I think Noor thought the clock was a lot further along than it was, and he had more time. But no one told him. So he just let one go and it missed it a bit,” McGraw said.
The Red Eddies failed to register a shot in the 10 combined minutes of overtime, which was part of the game plan for Mains.
“I would say when the second half started, I would say we had momentum and we came out pretty hot. We created more opportunities. But as that half extended I think our guys got a little bit tired, and you could see the momentum kind of seizing over that way,” Mains said. “So in overtime I wanted the guys to just relax, and if it was a tie then it was tie, but I definitely didn’t want to force the tempo at all because I thought that they had a little bit more energy left in the tank than we did.”
The teams are scheduled to meet again in Lewiston on Oct. 17, which is the regular-season finale for both teams.
“It’s one of those games that you have to deal with certain things that happen in a rivalry game,” McGraw said. “It’s good to play one early and then play one late.”
“The next time I’m hoping that energy-wise we can match them,” Mains said. “I don’t think they’re a better team than us. I think they might have outplayed us today, but I definitely don’t think they’re a better team than us.”
Lewiston’s Muktar Ali tries to sneak the ball away from Edward Little’s Alex Thompson during Monday afternoon’s game but was called for a dangerous play.Edward Little’s Spencer Frahn right, crashes into Lewiston’s Alinoor Deqow as they vye for the ball during Monday’s game in AuburnLewiston’s Noor Aden, center, heads the ball away from his goal during Monday’s game in AuburnlEdward Little’s Ibn Khalid (21) and Jacob Kyajohnian combine efforts to head the ball past Lewiston goalie Cooper Millett off a corner kick during the teams’ 1-1 tie in Auburn on Monday.Edward Little’s Ibn Khalid (21) collides with Lewiston’s Henok Citenga, among others, during the teams’ 1-1 tie in Auburn on Monday.Edward Little’s Joel Musese (7) and Lewiston’s Warsame Ali both fight for the ball while Noralddin Othman looks on during the teams’ 1-1 tie in Auburn on Monday.Edward Little’s Joel Musese (7) and Lewiston’s Abdilahi Abdi both go for the ball during the teams’ 1-1 tie in Auburn on Monday.Edward Little’s Ibn Khalid (21) and Jacob Kyajohnian combine efforts to head the ball toward Lewiston goalie Cooper Millett off a corner kick during the teams’ 1-1 tie in Auburn on Monday.