BUCKFIELD — After many near misses and close calls in the first 40 minutes Thursday, it took one singular shot in the second half.

The Buckfield boys’ soccer team struggled through a lackluster first half against a hustling Rangeley club. The Bucks had some quality chances but failed to finish. It left them scoreless at the half with the winless Lakers.

“It was pretty frustrating,” said forward Jon Randolph. “It felt like we weren’t even focused on the game. We were thinking about the game ahead of us. We weren’t really taking this game into our own hands. We needed to start focusing on this game.”

The Bucks came out more focused in the second half and the first shot was evidence of that. Randolph scored the first of his three goals in the half that gave the Bucks a 3-0 win over the Lakers.

“I think we were a little more motivated in the second half,” said Buckfield coach Kyle Rines, whose team plays Greenville in a key EWC matchup Saturday. “We weren’t ready to play. I think this was definitely our worst game of the season, and I think everybody knew it. So we came out a little bit better. It was just a matter of us being more prepared.”

Jacob Kraske and Hunter Wiley helped set up goals for the Bucks. Keeper Calvin Downey had the shutout with five saves. It was the fourth shutout for the Bucks (6-1). Rangeley got a fine outing from goalie Zach Trafton. He made nine saves and got some help in front of him from defender Carl Trafton.

Both teams had some bids in the first half.  The Bucks outshot the Lakers, 7-4, but Rangeley still managed to play scrappy and get some transition going to move the ball its way.

Rangeley (0-5) had Tomas Clinch fire a shot from the right side that was saved. Ricky Thompson had a cross to the front that Downey intercepted.

Randolph had a number of shots for the Bucks. He beat a charging Zach Trafton to the ball on one chance but put the shot wide. He had a header that hit the left post. Brian Casey was there for the rebound but put it wide. Jacob Marin-Moody had a hard shot on net that Trafton stopped. Late in the half, Randolph had a chip from the right side that Trafton blocked. Then in the final seconds of the half, a Randolph shot hit the crossbar.

The luck changed for the Bucks early in the second half. Karske sent the ball forward for Randolph on the right side. He had a defender to shake off but still managed to get a shot off for a goal just 2:30 into the half.

“It definitely meant a lot,” said Randolph. “It definitely gave us momentum.”

The Bucks continued to play better and possess the ball. Rangeley struggled to counter the way it had been able to in the first half.

“We had more intensity, more drive,” said Rines. “We won more 50-50 balls. We kept the ball on the ground, which makes a difference. When we do that, we become a much better soccer team.”

Randolph made it 2-0 at 8:45 of the second half. His second goal was almost exactly like his first. He drove to the net on the right side and had a defender all over him. He still managed to create some space and put a shot in far side for the 2-0 lead.

“It definitely shows we can pull ahead even if its 0-0.” said Randolph.

Rangeley had a late surge that created a chance or two. Then with 2:21 left in the game, Randolph completed the hat trick. He took a Wiley pass down the middle and fired a low shot that deflected in off the goalie.

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