AUBURN — The Edward Little girls’ soccer team had been reading press clippings, but not in search of news about its own squad.

They had seen that Mt. Blue topped Mt. Ararat earlier in the season. The Red Eddies used that as a barometer in advance of Tuesday’s showdown with the Cougars.

Edward Little made sure there was no slow start or flat play against Mt. Blue. The Red Eddies scored twice in the first 3:34 and barely looked back in a 5-0 win.

“We were a little nervous in the beginning because we had heard how they beat Mt. Ararat,” junior forward Emily Jacques said. “We only tied Mt. Ararat. Then we came out strong and put those two in. That really helped us.”

Jacques scored twice for EL (7-0-1) while Makayla Norcross, Francesca-Beth Haines and Piper Norcross also netted goals as the Red Eddies posted their second shutout of the season.

“That was the best start we’ve had all year — two goals in the first three or four minutes was awesome,” EL coach Craig Latuscha said. “We talked about how we needed to shoot from the outside from about 18 or 20 yards. Those were both beautiful goals. That really helped us out and get started.”

It’s an important week for EL. The schedule includes both Mt. Blue and Oxford Hills, both quality teams battling for playoff spots, and a matchup at Bangor Saturday morning, a pairing of Eastern A’s top two teams.

“This is a huge week,” said Latuscha, whose team is currently second behind the Rams. “I’d rather play Bangor today but obviously drawing Bangor at the end of the week is going to be very difficult. Before we get to Saturday, we have to look at Oxford Hills. Every time we play them, they’re a very competitive team and it’s always close. They have the KVAC Player of the Year in Mikayla Morin. They beat us last year on our own field. We can’t forget that.”

Mt. Blue (2-4-2) has gone 0-4-1 since defeating Mt. Ararat and has scored just two goals in those five games. The Cougars  started Tuesday’s game with a few starters on the bench, one of them due to injury.  Between EL’s strong start and Mt. Blue having to adjust to a different lineup, the Red Eddies dominated the early going.

“Knowing they beat Mt. Ararat, we were nervous but we wanted to come out strong,” Jacques said.

Just 1:21 into the game, Jacques intercepted a clear and then fired a shot from the outside off the crossbar.

“You just can’t think about it too much and just shoot it,” Jacques said.

Just over a minute later, Makayla Norcross made it 2-0 with a similar goal – a blast from the outside off the bar and into the top of the net.

Mt. Blue didn’t have an offensive push for the first 20 minutes of the opening half. The Cougars first shot didn’t come until 16:33 remained, and it wasn’t a shot that  challenged EL keeper Molly Murray.

Mt. Blue settled in and started to play better. The Cougars started creating some rushes and putting pressure on the EL defense.

“Our defense was strong today,” Jacques said. “We didn’t let down and didn’t get too confident after our two goals. We just kept going.”

Haines nixed the Cougars hope for a potential comeback. Her goal with 58 seconds left in the half made it 3-0. Calli Murray made a nice cross from the right corner.

“She crashed the net like she was supposed to,” Latuscha said. “It was a great run. It was a good way to end the first half.”

The 3-0 lead iced the game by halftime.

“They started to control a little bit and were down in our zone,” Latuscha said. “I think that third goal at the end of the first half put the nail in the coffin.”

Mt. Blue’s best scoring chance was a rush by Lauren Guppy early in the second half. She burst past the defense but put a shot wide. The Cougars had another chance with Murray out of the net, but Morgan Knowlton cleared the ball from the open goal.

With 17:12 left, Lauren Berube made a nice cross from the right side. Jacques finished it off at the left post. Then with 10:37 left, Piper Norcross beat a defender and completed the scoring.

“We’re usually a second half team, and I thought it was a decent half today as well,” Latuscha said.

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