LEWISTON — The Lewiston High School boys’ soccer team’s amazing regular season — the top-seeding, the perfect record, the unbeaten streak and the astounding number of goals — meant little Tuesday night for the start of the postseason.

Lewiston’s run last year took it all the way to a regional championship and the Class A state final before losing to Cheverus.

“We’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” senior forward Abdi Shariff said. “It’s a great feeling to be here again.”

Despite a solid effort from cross-town rival Edward Little, Lewiston made victory look easy. The Blue Devils took a 1-0 lead into the half and then broke the game open in the second half for a 5-0 win.

“I thought the kids really battled hard,” said EL coach Matt Andreasen, whose team was the first club all year to hold Lewiston to just a 1-0 lead at the half. “We gave up three in the last 10 minutes. We just kind of broke down. We spent so much energy trying to contain them.”

Eighth-ranked EL (5-7-4) played a tourney game Saturday, beating Mt. Ararat in overtime. Lewiston (15-0) played in the KVAC championship game last Thursday, but otherwise hadn’t played a real game in over a week.

“Now that we’ve got one under out belts, we’ve got an idea how that goes, even though we have a veteran team,” said McGraw, whose team scored 100 goals in 14 games in the regular season and hasn’t lost a regular-season match in 39 tries.

Lewiston got two goals and a pair of assists from Shariff. Maslah Hassan had a goal and an assist. Maulid Abdow and Abdulkarim Abdulle also had goals for Lewiston.

“To their credit, this is the best finishing Lewiston team that I’ve ever seen,” said Andreasen, whose team was outshot 22-2. “The goals that they scored were incredible finishes — all five of them. There’s only so much you can do.”

Lewiston, which beat EL 6-0 and 6-1 in the regular season, started slowly, but quickly shook off the rust. The Blue Devils were putting pressure on the EL defense for much of the first half. Red Eddies goalkeeper  Owen Mower had an outstanding game, making 14 saves. including a pair in the second half on point-blank shots.

“We started out slow and they came out hard,” Shariff said. “It took time for us to catch our rhythm. Once we started scoring and got our rhythm, we tried to keep going.”

Lewiston got some good pressure created by Muktar Ali and Joseph Kalilwa early. Abdulle and Shariff had some prime opportunities as well but it wasn’t until Shariff scored with 13:18 left in the first half that Lewiston managed to break through.

“I thought EL played great,” McGraw said. “The game plan they had for us was excellent. I knew they were going to be physical, and I knew they were going to be back, and I knew they were going to mark up real well. What I thought EL did really well was that off the ball, they played guys pretty well.

“It was going to be a matter of time. We needed to be patient, and we had to be resilient and find a the little crack here or there that they left.”

Shariff took a pass from Hassan Qeyle and then burst by one defender. He then outran two others and found enough space to fire a quick shot back across toward the open space inside the left post.

Lewiston took the 1-0 lead into the half while outshooting EL 14-0.

“We knew coming in we’d only get two or three chances,” Andreasen said. “We knew we had to contain them the whole game and we had to take advantage of those chances. Unfortunately, we didn’t.”

Abdow nearly made it 2-0 when he ripped a shot from the right side and hit the crossbar. Moments later, he was fed a pass by Hassan and blasted a similar shot that made it 2-0.

“We got that second goal and that put a lot of pressure on them to either equalize or come out of their shell,” McGraw said. “When we got the third goal, that took a lot of wind out of their sails, and then we just exploded.”

EL’s first shot of the game came with 24:03 left. Jarod Norcross-Plourde hit a low shot toward the right post, but Austin Wing made a nice diving save.

Then with 11:14 left, Maslah Hassan made it 3-0. He took a Shariff pass and one-timed it out of the air. Just 56 seconds later, Abdulle fired a low shot inside the right post for a 4-0 lead. Shariff completed the scoring with 34 seconds remaining on a free kick.

“It’s a playoff game,” Shariff said. “It’s different from a regular season game. The guys didn’t want to end their season today. Everybody gave 100 percent. We knew they were going to give 100 percent. So we just tried to play our game and play as hard as we could.”

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.