FREEPORT — Though the teams were a combined 2-11-2, Wednesday’s Western Maine Conference boys soccer game between Freeport and Poland was anything but a ho-hum affair.
The difference in the host Falcons’ 4-2 win was that the Knights (1-6-1) made a couple of crucial miscues in the first half which led to a 2-0 Freeport lead at the break. Poland played catch-up the rest of the way.
“I think that we’re much better than our record,” said Poland coach Kris Wright in his fourth year. “We’ve had some unlucky breaks, which quite honestly, is the story of our season. If we could eliminate the stupid goals, the goals where we made some error in judgment, or a lack of a decision to make a save on it, I think we would have a better record.
“We are a much better team than we were last year,” added Wright. “The program has come a long, long way and I’m very proud of these boys. And I’m very proud of where they are right now. I’m sure they don’t feel very good about some of the results that they’ve been getting, but I think they should feel much better about the way they are playing.”
To wit: Poland led in shots 14-12 and Freeport led in penalty corners, 7-5, but with less than 12 remaining left the Falcons (2-6-1) led 4-0.
Poland, led by the likes of Alex Corcoran, Tyler Lafrinea, and Nate Morin never gave up in this one and kept the door open with two late goals.
A Freeport handball with 11:18 left in the game resulted in a Corcoran penalty kick and the senior forward blasted the lower left corner of the net just past the outstretched arms of Freeport goaltender Brendan Qualls (four saves).
The Knights, who are scheduled to host Fryeburg Academy on Saturday, kept plugging away and a beautiful short corner kick and shot from Morin to Qualls’ right found the far side of the net with Freeport’s Nate Smail earning a card for hitting the ball with his hand inside the net.
That final goal came with 1:13 left.Freeport came out with the early first-half pressure, paced by Nick Nelsonwood, Parker Matheson, Ryder Bennell and the ever-present Easler. However, it was Qualls who came up with a big save nine minutes in with Lafrinea breathing down his neck.
Freeport’s first goal was started by a long Easler throughball down the right sideline.Kostro roamed to his left, but bumped into defender Allen with an onrushing Matheson brushing both aside, picking up the loose ball near the endline and calmly walking in with a one-touch goal at 16:40.
The Falcons’ second score came on a weird play and “own goal” as aEasler free kick from 30 yards out lazered into the box, caromed off a Poland defender and rocketed over Kostro’s head and in with 16:21 left.
Lafrinea had another late bid off an initial shot by Sean Kruse, but Qualls was there to gobble it up in traffic.
Poland’s Corcoran led an early charge to open the second period, but Easler nailed the left side of the net at 7:13 for a 3-0 lead and Jack Davenport headed in cross with 13:17 left, a nice bang-bang bid into the far corner after the ball sailed through the box untouched.
“The last game on Friday against NYA (3-1 loss) was really disappointing because of the rivalry and because we needed the (Heal) points,” said Freeport coach Joe Heathco. “This game was really important to us. Just with our confidence and that we’re really working hard all the time.
“To not get the results just makes it that much harder and takes all of the energy out what you’re doing,” added Heathco, whose charges visit Yarmouth on Tuesday.
“Mental mistakes ... and that’s been our story,” added Heathco of the Knights’ last-gasp charge. “Putting it all together to the end ... that’s what is killing us. I wish I knew why, then maybe I could fix it.”
“We’re more experienced and we’re more understanding of the game,” added Wright. “But, we still make a lot of those inexperienced mistakes. I think the heart that this team carries is the backbone of our play. I think they play with a tremendous amount of heart and I really think they never feel they’re out of it. Even when they’re down significantly.”