Mt. Ararat’s Amelie Sperando and Lewiston’s Eliza Libby chase the ball during Saturday’s KVAC girls’ soccer game in Topsham.

TOPSHAM — After getting shut out by Lewiston less than 20 hours earlier (2-0), the Mt. Ararat girls’ soccer team woke up Saturday morning determined to not let it happen again.

Trailing 2-0 late in the first half, the Eagles registered three unanswered goals en route to a 3-2 victory over the visiting Blue Devils Saturday in a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference matchup.

“What a win,” Mt. Ararat coach Chad Kirk said with a smile. “These girls wanted it today and came to play this afternoon.”

Forward Ryley Leech scored a goal and assisted on the eventual game-winner with 4:39 minutes remaining to lift the Eagles to victory.

Leech set up for a corner on the left side of the field after she knocked the ball off a Lewiston defender. The senior booted the ball precisely to the middle of the field where freshman Ema Hawkes put a head on it, breaking the 2-2 tie.

As the Eagles were setting up for the corner, Kirk yelled to the Eagles to “move up, what do we have to lose?”

“Why not? I’m too young to pack it in and play for the tie,” Kirk said. “Our girls really wanted the victory. That win right there was great for our program. We’re building, building, building.”

“Coach always says, ‘Get us corners’,” said Leech. “When he was yelling, ‘Get a corner,’ I just kicked it and hoped it would go off a Lewiston girl to get the corner.”

“Every time she makes a corner, I just always try to put a head on it,” Hawkes said. “I just saw her ball coming and ran to the goal. I had a few girls on me, but I ran through them anyway.”

Lewiston took control of the game early. Building on the victory from Friday, the Blue Devils continued putting shots on Mt. Ararat goalie Zoe Stilphen, who made nine saves in Friday’s contest. Just two-and-a-half minutes into the game, the Mt. Ararat defense failed to clear the ball, and Lewiston’s Maddy Foster grabbed it before dumping it over to Kajha Gagnon for the game’s first score.

Leech attempted to get the Eagles in the scoring column, carrying the ball down the field and weaving through defenders, but she was stopped when Lewiston goalie Gemma Landry came out of the net to take the ball away.

“She made a couple of saves last night that really helped her confidence,” Lewiston coach Brant Remington said.

Lewiston’s Taylor Chamberlain scored with 5:26 remaining in the first half, blasting a shot past Stilphen after taking a pass from Gagnon for the Blue Devils’ second goal.

Eagles begin comeback

Mt. Ararat got on the board after an infraction was called on an illegal touch by the Lewiston goalie. The Eagles were awarded an indirect kick from 11 yards out, and after a touch by Katelyn Hutchins, Leech fired the ball past the Lewiston wall and Landry to cut the lead to one goal.

“That was a big goal for us late in the first half,” said Kirk. “That made it a one-goal game.”

“There was not a lot she could do with that goal from point-blank range today,” added Remington.

The Blue Devils took the 2-1 lead into halftime while doubling up the Eagles in shots, 8-4, and holding the advantage in corners, 2-0.

The Eagles opened the second half with the same energy with which they ended the first. Hawkes continued her pesky play, taking ball after ball deep into the offensive zone. The forward kept the pressure on Lewiston, while firing a couple of shots at the goal.

“They played harder and started to communicate better,” Kirk said of his players. “Lewiston’s physical play got us fired up. Our players started getting angry and started running through the ball.”

Landry made a pair of saves, finishing with five on the day.

“She did fantastic, she always does,” Gagnon said of the freshman goalie. “She’s only going to get better these next few years.”

At the 25-minute mark, Gagnon crossed a corner to the middle of the field where the ball bounced. Lewiston’s Amelie Sperandio lifted her leg and got a foot on the ball, driving it into the net. But a dangerous play was called and the goal was called off.

“There was some bad luck on the field that didn’t go our way,” Remington said. “I give credit to Mt. Ararat for being able to capitalize on that.”

Ten minutes later, the Blue Devils were once again threatening. Gagnon slipped a direct kick from 35 yards out over the Mt. Ararat defenders, but Lewiston’s Brooke Cloutier didn’t get a leg on it when Stilphen (three saves) came out to secure the ball.

With under 10 minutes remaining in the game, Mt. Ararat’s Eliza Libby sent the ball long into Lewiston territory. Alexa Gurney picked it up, advanced it and shot the equalizer past Landry with 8:52 remaining.

“Our communication was much better today than last night and even the first half,” Kirk said. “It showed on the goals where we found the open girl.”

Following the go-ahead goal with four minutes remaining, the Eagles kept the ball away from their own territory. Led by Chloe Beattie, Shannon Harty, Brennan Thiboutot and Hutchins, the Eagles ran out the final minutes without allowing another Lewiston shot.

“They were first to the ball a lot today and they really had good first touches,” added Gagnon.

Mt. Ararat outshot the Blue Devils, 9-4 in the second half while doubling up Lewiston in corners, 2-1 in the final half.

“We communicated much better today. We connected better at the midfield and timed our runs better today,” Leech said. “We know we needed to win this if we want a chance to make the playoffs.”

Lewiston’s Sara Robet, right, works to advance the ball Mt. Ararat’s Zoe Pinkham during Saturday’s game.

Lewiston’s Megan St. Cy (6) and Mt. Ararat’s Chloe Beattie jostle for the ball during Saturday’s KVAC matchup.
Lewiston’s Kajha Gagnon boots a direct kick that went just wide of the net.

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