AUBURN — Edward Little senior goalie Allie Annear was just glad to get the Red Eddies’ first game in. Lewiston junior forward Charlotte Cloutier was glad, too, because it gave her a chance at some redemption.

Cloutier’s second-half header stood up as the only goal as the Blue Devils’ and goalie Gemma Landry held off a late charge from their rivals to secure a 1-0 girls soccer victory Wednesday.

Cloutier headed a cross from Leah Dube into the net at 9:31 of the second half to improve Lewiston to 2-0 on the season and send the Maca Roddy Memorial Trophy back across the bridge to reside in Lewiston’s trophy case for the fourth year in a row.

Cloutier, who had a pair of goals in Lewiston’s first and only game prior to Wednesday, a 4-1 win over Leavitt last Friday, said she was still haunted by a missed penalty kick in last year’s Battle of the Bridge, which ended in a scoreless tie.

“I messed up the goal last year, so it felt good to rebound from that and win it for the team this year,” Cloutier said.

“Honestly, I wasn’t even planning on using my head,” she added.

Lewiston controlled play for the better part of each half and would have scored in the first half if not for Annear, who made a pair of leaping saves and turned aside three more shots to shut out the Devils in the half before giving way to junior Hailee Brown for the second half.

“We had a couple of good opportunities before my goal.  We just couldn’t finish,” Cloutier said.

Annear and her Lewiston counterpart in net, Landry, were named players of the game.

“I’m thankful that we were able to finally play a game, and I’m thankful it was against Lewiston,” Annear said. “It was our senior night and we were able to get that done. We don’t know what might happen the rest of the season. Nothing’s guaranteed.”

The game was originally scheduled to be played a week earlier but was pushed back for precautionary reasons just hours before the game due to a potential COVID-19 case. The Red Eddies had another game scheduled after that, but it was also pushed back at the request of the opponent, Windham.

“That was heartbreaking not to be able to play last week, and so this has been building up for a while,” Edward Little coach Miles Bisher said. “I’m thankful and grateful that we got a green designation from the state on Friday last week so that we could get this game in.”

The game went on despite steady rain throughout the first half. Clouds parted and allowed a little sun for the second half.

The weather just added to the surreal atmosphere. Spectators watched the game from the parking lot and behind fencing around the field. Normally, fans would be jammed together, side by side, along the sideline for the rivalry game.

“It was strange,” Cloutier said. “There’s no fans — I mean, there’s fans, just not like we’re used to. They’re not cheering from the sidelines. You still get the adrenaline rush, it’s just not the same.”

Edward Little displayed the typical rush of a team trailing by a goal in the late stages and turned up the pressure on Landry in the final 15 minutes. She hustled out of the net to challenge Faith Small on a breakaway, wrangling the ball away before the EL senior was able to get a good bid on goal. Moments later, she cut off the angle on another Red Eddies senior, Ella Boucher, to force a shot to the side of the net.

“We played well in the second half against Leavitt, and, as a whole, it was nice to see us play well today,” Lewiston coach Jeff Akerley said. “EL started coming back towards the last 15 minutes, but we had enough left in the tank. It’s never an easy game with EL. It doesn’t matter who wins, it’s always close, and it doesn’t matter what your record is because the rivals know each other so well.”

With four minutes left, Landry denied Boucher again, this time with a diving stop on a free kick from about 30 yards out.

“Every game, she’s so reliable,” Akerley said of Landry. “Every game she comes up with a solid performance. We always know, no matter who we play, we’re in it for the most part until the very end because she steps up so big.”

“When our backs were against the wall, we played with a little bit more energy and passion and purpose,” Bisher said. “We have to do that for the whole game. That was the difference today.”

“Everyone’s putting everything into one basket now because we don’t know when it’s going to end,” Bisher said. “So in a strange way, even though there’s no playoffs, it’s like these games almost mean more, and every game feels like a playoff game and it feels like there’s a lot riding on it. It’s a strange feeling to have your first game feel like that.”

The Eddies are hoping to have that feeling more than once this fall, though.

“I’m really hoping we get as full of a season as we can get at this point,” Annear said.


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