TOPSHAM – Mt. Ararat figured its best scoring chances would probably come on set pieces on long throw-ins and corner kicks against Lewiston on Thursday.

In the fifth minute, the Eagles’ figuring came to pass when Dalton Streeter’s long throw-in was headed into the goal by Nick Merrill for the lone score in Mt. Ararat’s 1-0 boys’ soccer win over the Blue Devils.

“We have a long throw-in with Dalton, and we utilize it a lot, it’s like another corner for us, and I just try to go and head the ball in,” Merrill said. “It’s my job … just try and get it in the back of the net.”

That ended up being the only real scoring chance the Eagles had Thursday, and they executed it perfectly, with one senior defender setting up another.

“That’s one of our set piece plays,” Mt. Ararat coach Jack Rioux said. “Nick, far post, Dalton’s got a big throw, they’ve been doing that for three years, and we got it to go in tonight. It’s one of our weapons. We want to get end line, get to the sideline, hope for a corner kick or a throw-in. That was the game plan.”

After the lone goal, Mt. Ararat’s defense held off Lewiston for 75 minutes. When The Blue Devils did get a scoring chance, the shots went wide or high or were stopped by Eagles goalkeeper Gavin Patterson.

“They got one early, and we had plenty of time to get back into it,” Lewiston coach Mike McGraw said. “And I thought we dominated the game and our chances came and they just went wide. I thought that keeper made some phenomenal saves.”

Taking into account Lewiston’s offensive prowess, Mt. Ararat switched to a more defensive formation for Thursday’s game. After halftime, the Eagles changed to an even more defensive set up.

“We dropped another guy back behind the ball, and then we hoped, prayed, and it worked,” Rioux said.

Lewiston finished with nine shots on goal. Mt. Ararat had only the one.

“We knew what kind of game it was going to be,” McGraw said. “And it’s a special night for Mt. Ararat, and they played like a special team.”

Despite the loss and not scoring a goal, McGraw appreciated the Blue Devils’ effort.

“I liked that our guys did not panic. I like how hard our guys played,” McGraw said.

“It just wasn’t meant to be. We couldn’t get one in.”

Lewiston, which entered the game in second place in Class A North, falls to 8-2-2. Mt. Ararat improves to 6-3-2.

“It’s huge. We needed to beat one of the top teams to get some Heal points,” Rioux said. “We have a tough stretch starting out with this (game): Lewiston, Mt. Blue’s very tough, Edward Little, and then an away game over at Brunswick. All tough games.”

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