WINTHROP — What does it take to pull off an upset?

The 11th-seeded Carrabec girls soccer team pointed to a mix of Caitlin Crawford’s feet, Ashley Cates’ athleticism and Heidi Vicneire’s four-leaf clover key chain as keys to a 2-0 victory over No. 6 Winthrop in a Class C South preliminary round game Friday afternoon.

The victory sent the Cobras (8-7-0) to their first quarterfinal appearance in nearly a decade, according to Maine Principals’ Association records. The Cobras will next host No. 14 St. Dominic in a quarterfinal game Tuesday in North Anson. The Saints blanked third-seeded Hall-Dale on Friday.

“Having not gone past this game in four years, this feeling is awesome,” Cates said.

“I’ve coached (the seniors) for four years, and we’ve gone and had this prelim game every year,” added fifth-year Carrabec coach Vicneire. “You get all worked up and psyched (each year), and you walk away the loser. It’s hard every year…We talked (Thursday), I said, ‘Just as a gift, I want to feel what it feels like to win one of those games that matter.’ This matters.”

Winthrop finished 9-5-1.

The Cobras entered with few reserves on the bench. They were also largely out-played in the first half, with the Ramblers owning a 10-1 edge in shots by the half. The Cobras stayed in the game thanks to their goalkeeper, Cates, who finished with 13 saves, one of which involved a diving, one-handed punch to keep the ball away from the net in what would have been a certain score.

“At half, I was very nervous, because I knew (Winthrop) was going to come at us really hard to get that one (goal) up on us,” Cates said. “I just had trust in my teammates, and when the ball comes at me, instincts take over. (The one-handed save) was just a jump and hope.”

Carrabec flipped the game in the second half, sticking to its own style of soccer, with quick passes and a more open attack. The strategy worked, as Crawford notched the first goal of the game with 30 minutes remaining.

“I really have to thank Lily (Augustine) for (the goal),” Crawford said. “She had the assist, and without her passing the ball back to me, I never would have had the goal in the first place. Really, I give all of that one to her.”

“We were at a disadvantage coming (to Winthrop), because their field is a little bit smaller than ours,” Vicneire said. “We practice on a different field, just trying to get used to this field. So, when we got here, (Winthrop) controlled the game, and I feel like we were playing their game. At halftime, we just talked about playing our game. We were just getting bunched up and there wasn’t enough space to pass. When they did that, you saw the field open up in the second half. We had space, and we possessed, we won the 50-50 (balls). And that first goal was the game-changer.”

Crawford’s second goal — which came with 12 minutes left in the match — was her most impressive. She took a shot about 20 yards away from the goal that hit the top of the net for the 2-0 score. The goal deflated Winthrop. As soon as time expired, the Cobras jumped around the field in celebration — the realization of a long-lost feat that had finally become a reality. Each player also took turns rubbing Vicneire’s four-leaf clover — found by sophomore striker Cheyenne Cahill at a recent practice and now attached to a key chain Vicneire keeps on her jacket — that may turn into a rally tool for the Cobras.

“I’m not a superstitious person, really,” Vicneire said. “But what your team brings you, you want to play along with. They brought me the four-leaf clover, and I was like, ‘Well, alright, I’ll bring it to the game.’ And I just so happened to have the (key chain) at my house lying around. I brought this today, and they loved it. They each took a turn holding it before we played. It’s attached now.”

 

Dave Dyer — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Dave_Dyer


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