TOPSHAM — Just like Tuesday’s regular season finale, the Edward Little High School girls’ soccer team faced Mt. Ararat on the same field, this time in an Eastern Maine Class A preliminary contest.

Same teams, same victor, as the host Eagles scored one goal in each half en route to a 2-0 victory over the Eddies on Friday.

Eighth-seeded Mt. Ararat (10-5) heads to top-seeded Bangor for an Eastern A quarterfinal next week, while Edward Little, the No. 9 seed, closes its season at 7-8 after a second setback to the Eagles in three days.

“We were a little bit deflated after Tuesday’s game (a 3-0 loss), knowing we didn’t play as well as we could have, and drawing Mt. Ararat was tough, considering they are not really an eight seed, more like a four or five seed,” said Eddies coach Craig Latuscha, who loses seniors Ayumi Ranucci, Abby Bellefleur, Allarie Lever, Lexi Clavet, Kate Sawyer, Taija Ayotte and Avery Chisholm to graduation. “My girls played hard all the way to the final whistle. I am proud of them.”

Eagles pressure

Mt. Ararat, using a strong wind to its advantage, controlled the first 20 minutes, outshooting the Eddies 8-0. Celia Ouellette hit the crossbar above the outstetched hands of goaltender Taylor Landry twice in the early going.

The Eagles struck for their first goal with 27:29 remaining in the opening half. Ouellette sent a pass to Torri Pelletier, who stuck her head between two EL defenders and deposited a shot past Landry for a 1-0 lead.

“We were nervous, but that first goal seemed to relax us a little bit,” said Pelletier of her goal. “Celia was so good again today, and the pass she gave me was just like how we practice.”

“The early goal fired the team up, especially after hitting the crossbar a couple times early,” said Mt. Ararat coach Sam Chard. “Right from the whistle we played hard, got a goal, and for us a key is to score first.”

Landry kept her team in it, making seven first-half saves. And, the Eddies seemed to find their stride over the final 15 minutes, especially Lexi Clavet, who found room in the Mt. Ararat defense to fire two shots on Eagles netminder Michelle Pelletier (eight saves in the game).

“It was tough, having to face a lot of shots in the first half,” said Landry. “But, we felt good, down just 1-0 at the half, and really knew we could come back. We were pumped up before the game, even had a pep rally, and believed we could do better than on Tuesday.”

“Halftime down a goal, I told the girls we could do it, but that second goal deflated them a little bit,” said Latuscha. “We tried to adjust, and it just didn’t work out. When it was a 1-0 game, we had a couple opportunities.”

Going into the wind in the second half, Mt. Ararat continued to apply pressure on the EL defense of Sarah Hammond, Danielle Rock, Hannah Smith and Chisholm.

And, the Eagles doubled their lead as Ouellette got her head on a bouncing ball in front of Landry with 20:23 remaining.

“Playing the same team three times in a season is difficult, and in the playoffs anything can happen,” said Chard. “Trying to keep the girls pumped up was a challenge, considering we beat them by three goals both times around.

Clavet had EL’s best chance down the stretch, sending a hard shot off the Eagles netminder, with Mt. Ararat defender Chelsea Crawford clearing the ball out of danger.

The Eagles finished with a 24-10 shot advantage. Mt. Ararat held a 4-1 edge in corner kicks.

Now, Mt. Ararat heads to north to Bangor, facing a Rams team that rolled to a 5-0 victory over the Eagles on Oct. 12.

“The mental battle is the biggest thing, knowing Bangor played some hard teams along the way just like us,” said Chard. “We have a good chance, just as good as a shot as anybody. We have gone up there many times for the playoffs and have come back happy on several occasions. On any given day, you never know.”


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