RUMFORD — Gray-New Gloucester coach Kiaran McCormack feels it is important that his players remain positive, even when entering the unknown.
The Patriots certainly heeded the message Monday afternoon in their Class B South preliminary girls’ soccer game.
The Patriots set the tone early by controlling the action and seemingly shooting at will, led by Emma Woods and Laurel Thomas, who each recorded a hat trick, and No. 9 Gray-New Gloucester displayed a strong passing attack in a 10-1 triumph against No. 8 Mountain Valley at windy Chet Bulger Field.
Brianna Jordan scored two goals in the second half for the Patriots.
“We knew coming up here, if we played like we have all season, then we’d come out with a win. It’s always hard and difficult,” McCormack said, referring to the teams coming from different conferences, the WMC and the MVC, and deploying contrasting styles, “not knowing what to expect, but we had the speed and technical skills.”
Gray-New Gloucester (7-8) advances to play top-ranked Yarmouth in a quarterfinal game Wednesday.
Mountain Valley concludes its season at 7-8. The Patriots also humbled the Falcons in the 2015 preliminary round.
Monday’s game was scoreless for the first 12 minutes and 33 seconds. Then Gray-NG got going. Right wing Jaley Martin dribbled in to the offensive zone, crossed a pass and Woods booted the ball over the outstretched hands of Mountain Valley goalie Lauren Sterling.
Woods scored again seven minutes from point-blank range.
“Our feeling during the game was that the midfielders needed to advance the ball ahead to the forward line,” Woods said.
Alexa Thayer converted a centering pass from Eliza Hotham, and Abigail Michaud scored with 8:37 left in the first half, making it 4-0.
Sterling (12 saves in first half, 27 in game) received support as fullbacks Brooke Carver and freshman Saydie Garbarini cleared the zone.
“They are a very skilled team. We anticipated it,” Mountain Valley coach Lynn Gould said. “We have a young team, but the kids didn’t quit and I’m proud of them because they continued to battle right up to the end.”
Mountain Valley did have opportunities when its midfielders advanced balls. Ashley Russell had a free kick from 30 yards away that landed on the back of the net. Abby Mazza hit the right post, and a shot by Emily Laubauskas was cradled by Gray-New Gloucester goalie Chelsea Davis (eight saves).
Midway through the second half, Mazza was hauled down and a penalty kick was awarded. Mazza squared up and drilled the ball off the left post and it caromed across to the right corner.
“We used the same defense,” McCormack said, referring to Abigail Ross, Kyleigh Alt, Isabelle DeTroy and Emma Dyer. “We didn’t ask the girls to do any more that what we’ve been doing.”