AUBURN — Opening the delayed season with a rivalry game, Lewiston pushed hard early and put home the game’s first goal.

It turned out to be the only goal, which left the Blue Devils frustrated and Edward Little pleased with much of its performance. Still, “it’s a win,” said Lewiston coach Dan Gish, who recorded his first victory as the Blue Devils’ head coach with Monday’s 1-0 boys soccer victory.

“Every time you come here, I don’t care what the record is, it’s going to be a good game. And my hat’s off to EL, they were well-coached, they had a plan,” Gish said.

Noah Peck and David Abdi battle for control of the ball during Monday afternoon’s soccer game at Edward Little High School. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

The Red Eddies’ plan to open the game was to start all their seniors, who were being honored in the first home game of the year as opposed to the last with the coronavirus casting a dark cloud over the just-started season. That starting lineup got a heavy dose of pressure from the Blue Devils, who broke onto the scoreboard about six minutes into the match.

Romano Bassa’s cross from the right found David Abdi, and Abdi’s header deflected off the bottom of the crossbar and down into the goal past Edward Little senior goalie Alex Avila.

“I felt bad,” Eddies coach Tim Mains said. “We started the seniors, and we had planned to give them a few minutes and then put our usual starters out there, and it was just unfortunate that (the switch) happened to be just after that goal, because there was nothing (Alex) could have done. And he actually made a couple nice saves before that to keep us in. So nothing Alex could have done to save that, and I thought he played really well, too.”

Freshman Eli St. Laurent took over in net for Edward Little after that and pitched a shutout the rest of the way, including making nine saves in the first half. St. Laurent stopped 13 shots total.

“He’s unbelievable. His athleticism and his positioning is just outstanding,” Mains said. “He kept us in it in the first half.”

“He made some good saves, and his positioning was good,” Gish said of St. Laurent. “I think we could have made it a little harder on him with our placement. But he made the saves that he needed to make, and you train your keepers to make the one or two saves in a game that will keep you in it, and he made three or four of those.”

St. Laurent stymied Abdi’s bid for a second goal with less than seven minutes to go before halftime, then stopped Ivanilson Domingues on the ensuing corner kick.

The Red Eddies, who were held without a shot on goal in the first half, played their rivals even in the second half, finally getting off a pair of shots (from Chase Martin and Quincy Coachman) and other opportunities on Lewiston goalie Yaya Heri.

“We did an adjustment, actually, at the quarter mark (during a sanitation and water break),” Mains said. “We had started the game playing super-defensive, and we just didn’t have the numbers forward. But at the quarter mark, we pushed a guy up, and I think that after playing a quarter that way we got a little bit more comfortable and started taking some chances forward. I was pleased with the second half, but a little bit disappointed with the first.”

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