Messalonskee High School’s Benoit Levesque (11) wins the headers over Mt. Blue High School’s Samuel Smith (10) in Oakland on Thursday. (Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel)
OAKLAND — After scoring 21 goals a year ago, Mt. Blue senior Sam Smith expected to be a marked man this season.
“I knew coming into this season I was going to be marked more heavily,” Smith said. “I’m trying to create more opportunities for my teammates, get more assists on the board, get the second pass that creates the goal.”
Smith had a creative assist on the Cougars’ second goal of the day Thursday but also showed his ability to score as he also tallied two goals in Mt. Blue’s 4-1 win over Messalonskee.
Mt. Blue is 2-0-1 in Class A North play and, with a strong corps of seniors returning, is looking to break into the top echelon of teams in the division.
“I think they’re right on course with the expectations of their ability,” said Mt. Blue coach Joel Smith, who is Sam’s father. “They’re setting a course and mentality of what they want.”
Messalonskee falls to 0-3-0, but coach Tom Sheridan liked what he saw from his Eagles, especially in the first half.
“I’m real happy how our formation is coming out there,” he said. “We’ve got to limit some mistakes that cost us in some situations. We played a fantastic last 35 minutes of that first half.”
The Cougars scored once in the first half when sophomore Adam Loewen hit a high, curving shot from 25 feet to the top right corner of the goal. That was it for the half, although Mt. Blue held a 7-2 edge in shots on goal.
The Eagles did miss two good scoring chances, both off corner kicks. On the first one, the ball slipped behind Mt. Blue goalie Xander Gurney (five saves) but was cleared by Eli Yeaton before it crossed the line. On the second, the corner kick sailed past the goal untouched.
The Cougars started quickly in the second half, concentrating on short passes instead of going over the top as they did much of the first half. Smith juked a defender along the end line and fed junior Finn Towle a perfect cross for an easy goal to make it 2-0.
Messalonskee goalie Carter Lambert (13 saves) turned in a strong game with a couple of diving saves but there was little he could do to prevent the next two Mt. Blue goals, both by Smith. The first was a strong individual effort in which Smith dribbled around a defender one way and beat a second defender for an easy touch past Lambert.
The second goal, his fourth of the season, came off a pretty cross on the end line from senior Zack Gunther.
The Eagles, who at times played four freshmen, got on the board with seven minutes to go when junior striker Jacob Perry took a fine crossing pass from Will McPherson and chipped it in. It was Perry’s fourth goal of the season.
“We’re learning,” Sheridan said. “We’re a young group that’s learning on the fly, which is to be expected this time of year.”
Mt. Blue High School’s Samuel Smith (10) gets knocked to the turf by Messalonskee High School’s Cameron Croft (4) in the first half in Oakland on Thursday. (Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel)Mt. Blue High School’s Samuel Smith 910) tries to beat Messalonskee High School’s Hunter Smart (14) to the ball in Oakland on Thursday. (Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel)Messalonskee High School’s Tucker Charles (19) knocks Mt. Blue High School’s Jack Murray to the turf in Oakland on Thursday. (Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel)Messalonskee High School goalie Clay Carpenter makes a save against Mt. Blue High School in the first half in Oakland on Thursday. (Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel)