PARIS — Oxford Hills had one player it had to key on from Leavitt’s offensive attack. The Hornets, meanwhile, had two Vikings they had to keep their eyes on.
Each of those targeted players scored twice, and the Vikings’ double trouble led to them doubling up the visiting Hornets, 6-3, in a KVAC girls’ soccer game at Gouin Athletic Complex on Tuesday.
Despite being the main focus of the Vikings’ defensive effort, Leavitt freshman Leah Maheux found open space for a shot seven minutes in. She didn’t miss, glancing a strike off the left post and in to put the Hornets (2-5) up 1-0.
“We tried to stay connected and make sure that we communicate,” Vikings senior defender Cetta Stewart said. “No. 4 on their team (Maheux) is a good player, and she has speed, so we got to make sure that we were one step ahead of her and communicated.”
One of the Hornets’ players to mark tied the game up 11 minutes later. Julia Colby ended a scramble of a sequence by finally putting the ball in the back of the net. Leavitt goalie Shelby Varney was able to stop the first two shots, but was on the ground and unable to get to Colby’s tally.
“It was important, especially to bounce back after they scored the first goal,” Oxford Hills (4-2) coach Chad Truman said. “We know if we can possess the ball, take shots, that we’re going to score. So to bounce back I think was important. It shifted momentum back in our favor.”
The Vikings built on that momentum 10 minutes and took the lead. Caroline Burns’ shot from outside the box deflected off Leavitt’s Becca Fogg and past Varney.
The hosts’ lead was short-lived. Maheux crossed a pass into the box to Kristen Roux, whose low shot went off the gloves of Vikings goalie Jillian Douglass, then slowly rolled off the left post and in.
The Hornets weren’t able to gain any momentum for the goal, however. Cece Dietrich, the other of the Vikings’ marked women, struck a shot from 30 yards out that handcuffed Varney just 23 seconds later.
“We had talked about a game plan to try to limit the touches of Dietrich and Colby, and needless to say they found the openings for sure,” Leavitt coach Chris Cifelli said. “I just thought we lost track of those kids, and we were trying to limit their touches just in the flow of play, period, to make it harder for them to get the ball.”
Cifelli made a change in net at halftime, inserting Allison Roux in for Varney, who made eight first-half saves.
“We were trying to change some things up at half, seeing if maybe that could even take Oxford out of their game a little bit,” Cifelli said.
The switch did little to dissolve the Vikings’ attack. Colby stole the ball off the Hornets’ opening touch of the second half, leading to a corner kick. Gillian Grover found the back of the net five minutes later to make it 4-2.
Roux’s job was made harder less than three minutes later, when Colby was pushed down in the box and the Vikings were awarded a penalty kick. Dietrich didn’t miss on her shot to Roux’s right.
Colby later added her second tally on a put-back shot that looped into the net.
“They’re the key, no doubt,” Truman said. “But it takes a team around them. I’ve had amazing players in the past who had to carry the whole team on their shoulders. I don’t feel like they have to do that. I feel like it’s a team effort, great passing, and that just opens it up. It frees them up. Otherwise teams would just double-team them, and then they wouldn’t be effective. But they have to defend other players.”
Maheux finished up the scoring with her second goal three minutes later, blazing up the middle of the field on a counter-attack and beating Douglass.
“The thing that Leah does — obviously she brings a lot to the table for our team — I think the thing that’s her biggest credit is is that she’s always looking for ways to get better,” Cifelli said. “So that ceiling could be very, very high because she just has such a work rate. And as you can see she plays with such a motor the whole, entire time.”
Roux added five saves for Leavitt. Douglass made four saves for the Vikings.
Oxford Hills goalie Jillian Douglass made four saves for the Vikings.
Leavitt goalkeeper Allison Roux blocks a shot in front of her teammate Zoe Nadeau during the second half against Oxford Hills in South Paris on Tuesday.
Ceceila Dietrich of Oxford Hills puts a shot on goal against Annika Mitchell (19) of Leavitt during the second half in South Paris on Tuesday.
Ella Kellogg, left, of Oxford Hills competes for the ball against Jenna Boucher of Leavitt during the second half in South Paris on Tuesday.
Kayliegh Gilbert, right, of Leavitt and Julia Colby of Oxford Hills compete for the ball during the first half in South Paris on Tuesday.
Leavitt goalkeeper Shelby Varney blocks a shot during Tuesday’s game against Oxford Hills in South Paris on Tuesday.
Julia Colby of Oxford Hills takes a shot on goal while being defended by Annika Mitchell of Leavitt during the second half in South Paris on Tuesday.