TURNER — After two unfamiliar teams played to a stalemate for 110 minutes, Leavitt senior goalie Ben Hutchins found himself in an unfamiliar position. The first-year goalie was tasked with trying to stave off game-deciding penalty kicks in order to keep his high-school career going for at least one more game.

Hutchins stepped up, making two saves and watching one last Gray-New Gloucester attempt go high as the No. 7 Hornets held on to beat the No. 10 Patriots, 2-1, in a Class B South boys’ soccer preliminary round game at Libby Field on Saturday night.

“The first one, I kind of didn’t want to commit to one side. I don’t know why. But I stayed middle and kind of down. He just shot it right at me,” Hutchins said. “The second one, I saw him look to my right, and I know what that means, it means he’s going to my left. So I went to my left and I saved it.

“When I saw (the last one) sailing right over the crossbar I knew it wasn’t going to hit the crossbar at all, and I just ran out to my teammates, and that was the best feeling of my life.”

The Hornets, who play in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference, and the Patriots of the Western Maine Conference don’t play during the regular season, meaning postseason play is the only time the two teams will match up. Saturday night was one of those instances, and the lack of familiarity showed early on.

“It’s weird to see a new team. The southern teams usually play a lot of possession, so we kind of had an idea of what they were doing, but we didn’t really know,” Leavitt coach Zac Conlogue said. “We were trying to feel them out, see what they had. We were lucky we got that goal early, which kind of changed how things went.”


That early goal came on a 25-yard strike off the foot of Connor Cyr from the left side into the right side of the goal 11 minutes in.

“Connor’s one of our go-to guys. We know he likes the big moments,” Conlogue said. “He gets free range from wherever he wants to shoot.”

That was one of just two Hornet (8-4-3) shots on goal in the first half. The Patriots (4-10-1) only mustered four shots at Hutchins that he easily saved.

The Patriots dominated possession in the second half but were without a shot on goal as the minutes ticked down, so they started sending more players at the Hornets’ stout defense.

“We just needed to get numbers forward. We got forward a little bit, but it was they had six, seven, eight guys behind the ball, and we’re attacking with three,” Gray-NG coach Andy Higgins said. “So we had to make an effort to get numbers forward, so we pulled a guy from the back and went three there, and put four through the midfield and three up top and we created some chances.”

That created an opening in the midfield for Cam Usher — the defender-turned-midfielder — who slid a through-ball to Julius Rapp to the right of the goal. Rapp’s open chance went off Hutchins and in with less than seven minutes remaining.


Neither team put another shot on goal in regulation, sending the game to a 15-minute, sudden-victory overtime. The Hornets had more chances on-goal, and Hutchins twice punched away chances by the Patriots high in the box before they could even become shots.

“I just wanted the ball out of my box,” Hutchins said.

The Patriots put more shots on-frame than the Hornets in the second overtime, but nothing got past either Hutchins or Gray-NG junior goalie Brannon Gilbert, sending the game to penalty kicks.

The first — and only guaranteed — set of five kicks apiece started off well for the Patriots. Gilbert stopped Garrett Addison’s kick, then Rapp converted past Hutchins.

The Hornets didn’t miss again, with Seth Ramser, Cyr and Bryce Pelletier all converting. Hutchins made saves against Matthew Gurney and Andrew LaCerda before Tristan Fogg hit his high to end the game.

“(It’s tough) because both sides were competing hard the whole way through. You’d love to see another 15 minutes or another hour, whatever the case may be. Unfortunately that’s the way it was,” Higgins said. “And if we had to do it all over again we’d put those same kids back on the stripe. We’ve worked hard at the end of practice taking PKs and it just didn’t go our way today.”

[email protected]

Leavitt senior Julian Clement takes possession of the ball and makes a break down the field towards the goal during Saturday’s Class B South preliminary against Gray-New Gloucester. Gray-New Gloucester’s Julius Rapp leaps to head the ball towards against Leavitt.Gray-New Gloucester’s Julius Rapp winding up to score and tie the game, 1-1. Leavitt ended up winning after the match went to penalty kicks.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. 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.