AUBURN — For a brief moment, Lewiston held a lead over Edward Little in Thursday’s girls soccer rivalry showdown.

Edward Little quickly answered, and neither team could break through over the remainder of regulation and through two overtimes, settling for a 1-1 draw.

The teams battled back and forth during the first 20 minutes, with much of the action occurring around midfield. Edward Little (2-5-1) began to push harder and harder on the offensive end, but Lewiston (2-5-2) goalkeeper Gemma Landry stood tall and received help from her back line when pressure was applied. 

With 10 minutes remaining in the first half, a ball sent toward the Edward Little goal bounced off the arm of goalkeeper Allie Annear and sat in front of the goal until Maddie Foster tapped it in to put Lewiston up 1-0.

Only 40 seconds later, on the other side of the field, Edward Little’s Breya Whitman slipped a seam pass through the defense and into the path of Caroline Hammond, who flicked the ball over Landry and into the back of the Lewiston net to equalize in the blink of an eye. 

“I am happy with how we responded after the goal,” Edward Little coach Miles Bisher said. “It was a great ball from Breya to Caroline … Gemma came out to challenge, and Gemma was in no-mans land and Caroline had some time to get the ball over her.”

Edward Little continued the pressure until the end of the half, but nothing came of it. 

Landry finished with nine saves for Lewiston and helped the Blue Devils stay in the game as Edward Little continued to attack.

“Gemma has been solid for us all year — whether it’s been a win, loss or tie, she’s been stellar all year long,” Lewiston coach Jeff Akerley said. “Some of the games we have lost, we should’ve lost by double the score. Every game she’s made multiple saves that have allowed us to either tie or win. Without her, our record would be different.”

In the second half, the Red Eddies pressured the Blue Devils from the sides, as Ava Braunscheidel, Julia Berube and Hammond created offense from the flanks into the middle of the field. 

“I knew a strength of ours is getting out on the wings and I knew we could get some opportunities by getting crosses on,” Bisher said. “Gemma is a great goalkeeper and she’s aggressive on crosses, so we talked about making her make a decision and make opportunities. They did a good job clogging the middle and not letting us get opportunities in front, so credit them for doing that, and Gemma is good at coming out.”

In overtime, Edward Little’s focus was to be aggressive and not let the other team score late, something that has happened multiple times to the Eddies this season, most recently in a 2-1 loss to Brewer on Tuesday in which the game-winner was scored in the final minute.

“Before practice we watched some film and we watched the Brewer goal over and over again,” Bisher said. “I wanted that to be burned in their minds so that would never happen again. We wanted to attack and be aggressive instead of sit back and not lose. We just couldn’t score.”

Foster, Leah Landry and Brianne Dube helped give Lewiston a few chances in the second half. But low numbers in the back meant less breaks and more stress on the Blue Devils’ back line. 

“We are a very young defense and we don’t have a lot of depth,” Akerley said. “If there is a weakness, as much as our defense plays, we don’t have the depth to get them the breathers they deserve. We are young, inexperienced, have a lot to learn, but we don’t have the depth, either. If we could score more it would take a lot of the pressure off us.”

The tie helps both teams’ playoff aspirations. Lewiston entered Thursday’s game in playoff position, and now both teams occupy the final two playoff spots, eighth and ninth, respectively, in Class A North.

The Red Eddies play their fourth game in six days Saturday when they face Camden Hills, then will travel to Brunswick on Tuesday before hosting Oxford Hills next Friday. 

The Blue Devils will travel to Hampden on Saturday, then don’t play again until the following Saturday when they host Camden Hills.

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