RUMFORD — It was a game that meant Heal Points and milestones for the Mountain Valley girls’ soccer team Thursday.
The Falcons got both in a 2-0 win over Dirigo at Hosmer Field.
“We were definitely motivated,” Mountain Valley senior forward Sarah Klein said. “We had to come out bangin’. I think both teams were really motivated. I think the fact that we tripled our win record from last year was a big goal for us.”
The victory gave Mountain Valley a 9-3-1 record. The Falcons were just 3-14 last fall. Mountain Valley bounced up to sixth in Western C with a pair of Heal Point worthy games with Lisbon and Madison next week.
“We definitely pulled it together a lot better than last year,” Klein said. “One of the key reasons is that we’re actually a team this year and working together.”
Klein was a force for the Falcons Thursday. She seemed to make something happen every time she touched the fall. She had a goal and an assist.
“She’s one of the captains and one of the team leaders on the field as far as ball control,” Mountain Valley coach Lynn Gould said. “We rely on her on offense.”
Though Dirigo (4-7) played a solid game and went back-and-forth with the Falcons, the Cougars just couldn’t get that last connecting pass or get a Mountain Valley mistake on defense that could lead to a goal.
“It was our best showing against one of the better teams,” Dirigo coach Dave Buck said .” That was really, I think, one of the best looking games so far. The result doesn’t really show the story of the game. I thought it was evenly played.”
The Falcons came out strong and put some early pressure on the Dirigo defense.
“They played well on defense,” Gould said. “Our speed was a big defense attacker. That was the thing we were relying on. We tried to attack the defense and rely on our speed.”
It was a rush by Klein down the left side that led to the first goal with 25:02 left in the first half. She right-footed a shot toward the right post and watched it nick the it and go in for the 1-0 lead.
“In the past, I’ve had goalie come out at me,” Klein said. “I saw where the defender was. I saw where the goalie was, and I shot for the far corner.”
The Falcons had a chance to add to the lead with 6:57 left when a hand ball led to a penalty kick. LeAnn McNally took the shot but chipped it just wide.
In the second half, Dirigo picked up its game and produced a good counter-attack but couldn’t get the prime scoring chances to beat Falcon goalie Karen Flaherty.
“We started working the ball in the midfield a lot better than we have,” Buck said. “It’s been a struggle to get our heads around settling the ball and getting it wide. It started to work, but we just didn’t get the shots on goal.”
Mountain Valley made it 2-0 with 30:49 left in the game. Klein had a bid on the right side and fired a shot that Dirigo keeper Mariah LaFleur took off the face. Klein chased down the ball in the right corner and crossed it. Taylor Smart was there to redirect it in to the 2-0 lead. LaFleur left the game momentarily but returned.
“We’ve been working on our teammates charging the goal,” Klein said. “So I just relied totally on them and put it in front of the net.”
From there, the Falcons defense did the job. They didn’t have many breakdowns and kept the Cougars from turning the tide.
“We were tough on the defensive end,” Gould said. “We have some holes there because of some injuries, but the girls that needed to fill in filled in and did exactly what we asked them to do.”