Almost forgot. Here is Lewiston High School Soccer receiving the gold ball…

Posted by Sun Journal Sports on Saturday, November 7, 2015

LEWISTON — On the bus ride home from a heartbreaking state championship loss a year ago, Lewiston High School coach Mike McGraw made his team a promise.

Promise turned to prophecy Saturday.

“They started looking to get back here on Nov. 9 (2014),” McGraw said. “I knew we were going to be in this game. I knew we were going to be one of these teams. On the bus, we talked about it. I told them that we’re going back.”

Lewiston not only made its return to the state game but made amends for the loss it suffered a year ago.

Maulid Abdow’s flip throw bounced in off a Scarborough defender late in the second half Saturday for the only goal in a tightly contested game as Lewiston earned its first state soccer championship, a 1-0 triumph over Scarborough at Fitzpatrick Stadium.


The team that scored 114 goals this season won the Class A state title on an own goal.

“We did this for Coach McGraw, for Lewiston, for our school, for our community,” senior forward Abdi Shariff said. “We’re so happy to finally get it.”

Lewiston had been to the state final twice before, the most recent setback coming a year ago, a 2-1 loss to Cheverus. The Blue Devils have been on a mission since then, working hard in the offseason, preparing for a return to the state game and a reversal of fortune.

“It’s been agonizing at times,” said McGraw, who is in his 33rd season and is only the second coach in the program’s history. “They have confidence and they knew they could do this. You get into a state game and you throw everything out, how many goals you’ve scored or how many goals against you have, the style of play. It comes down to being a great event for the kids to find a way to overcome adversity, ride the roller coaster ride. I’ve got to give my kids credit for poise and composure.”

Lewiston (18-0) had to weather a hard-fought effort from Scarborough. The Red Storm brought a physical style and outstanding defense. Lewiston also had to overcome yellow cards to forward Maslah Hassan and defender Mohamed Khalid.

Scarborough (15-1-2) was the team McGraw expected to see in the state game, and he knew it would be a battle.


“I knew it was going to be one for the ages,” McGraw said. “Neither team got a direct goal. We had to work for everything we got. We got the last shot. It rolled in off a Scarborough player and went in. We got credit for the goal. That’s the way the game is. It can be beautiful, and it can be cruel.”

Abdow’s throw with 16:40 remaining produced the only goal of the game. The junior midfielder had an outstanding day firing flip throws into the field of play. From the right sideline, he put it toward the far post. It hit a Scarborough defender and went in.

“I didn’t even know it was going to go in,” Abdow said. “I thought Abdi (Shariff) scored. Then I heard my name announced.”

Lewiston, ranked 22nd in the country in a recent USA Today poll, then had to protect a 1-0 lead, a feat the Blue Devils haven’t had to do much this season. In most games, their lead has been greater.

Lewiston also had to do it without Khalid and Abdularim Abdulle. Both were hurt in a collision at midfield and came out of the game.

But those who remained in the game picked up where their teammates left off. This group of players who have been friends and teammates since grade school made sure the lead held.


“It feels great to win as a group,” Abdow said. “We’ve been playing together since we were little kids. We used to kick it around the middle school field. When we got to high school, we knew each other well.”

Though Lewiston has taken it to teams early this season and used its speed and passing skills against unprepared foes, the Red Storm started strong Saturday. Scarborough produced a counterattack against Lewiston while doing a tremendous job pressuring the ball and breaking up passes and shots.

Lewiston’s defense held strong. Zakariya Abdulle, Dek Hassan and Khalid were superb in the back and goalkeeper Austin Wing made the stops he had to. He finished with four saves.

“We were kind of pressured, but we got used to the game and the speed,” senior defender Dek Hassan said. “It was a lot of pressure. On defense, we work together. We tried to make each other feel we were all one. We can do anything together.”

Lewiston has seen the best that opponents have to offer in the first half of each tourney game so far. The Blue Devils have been forced to be patient and adjust and let their game evolve.

“Coach McGraw said that they were going to come out hard and that we had to go harder,” Abdulle said. “We had to be patient and play our own game.”


Lewiston had a couple of bids by Maslah Hassan early, but he drew a yellow card with 19:12 left in the opening half. It was his first of two in the game, the second coming as time expired. Lewiston had a nice bid by Muktar Ali off a Shariff pass late in the half.

“Usually, we set the tone,” McGraw said. “When they came out and did that, what I loved about my players is they settled back and said, ‘That’s what they’ve got.’ At halftime, we did the adjusting and the kids executed.”

Scarborough was the first team all season to hold Lewiston scoreless in the first half.

“These guys gave up one goal in four games against some very good teams,” Scarborough coach Mark Diaz said. “I don’t think Lewiston’s been held to one goal all year. That’s a pretty special defense.”

In the second half, Lewiston started moving the ball with the patience and fluidity to which it has been accustomed. The Blue Devils also started getting the kind of scoring opportunities that weren’t coming in the first half.

“It’s my understanding all year that they’ve been better in the second half,” Diaz said. “They got more relaxed. Once they get more relaxed, you saw them play better out there.”


Abdulle, Shariff and Joseph Kalilwa all had good chances. Scarborough’s Noah Stracqualursi cleared out a ball on the goal line following a Lewiston corner. Kalilwa also did a great job defending when Khalid was out with a yellow card.

Then, with 16:40 left, Lewiston got the break it needed. Abdow’s first throw in of the day wasn’t his best. It slipped in his hands and fluttered straight up into the air. The rest of the day, he was right on.

“That first one got away from me,” Abdow said. “The ball was slippery.”

A little spit on the hand and some steady focus on each throw made Abdow a significant weapon for Lewiston. Scarborough’s Matt Caron has been touted for his mighty throw-ins, but Abdow’s made the difference.

“You take these kids, my seniors, they wanted it so badly,” McGraw said. “They did what they had to do to make sure they were better. They decided we were going to be here.”

“It’s like a dream come true,” Abdulle said. “We worked hard for it all year. When we came here last year we weren’t ready, but this year, we came ready.”


This year’s bus ride home likely had a different feel than last year’s.

“It’s going to be a mad ride home,” McGraw said after the game.

That, too, was a promise.

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