Lewiston’s Charlotte Cloutier heads the ball between a pair of Edward Little defenders during the first half of Friday night’s soccer match in Lewiston. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

LEWISTON — The time it took to set up the penalty kick seemed like an eternity to Lewiston’s Leah Landry.

Fortunately for the Blue Devils, the junior midfielder knew what she was going to do with the opportunity the whole time.

Landry found one of the few spots Edward Little goalkeeper Allie Annear couldn’t cover, the top right corner, exactly 20 minutes into the second half for the only goal in Lewiston’s 1-0 win over the Red Eddies Friday night at Don Roux Field.

The win gave the Blue Devils (6-3) the season sweep over their rivals. They also won the first meeting on the other side of the river, 1-0, on Oct. 7.

The sequel was substantially better played than the first meeting, which was took place in the rain and was EL’s season-opener and only Lewiston’s third game. Both teams had quality chances on the Lewiston High School turf Friday, but both Annear (seven saves) and her Lewiston counterpart, Gemma Landry (12 saves) were up to the task throughout.

The Blue Devils held a 16-12 advantage in shots over the Red Eddies (0-7).

“It was a classic EL-Lewiston game,” Edward Little coach Miles Bisher said. “It’s a close game. It’s exciting. Both teams had chances. Obviously a different atmosphere without the crowd here. We had to bring our own energy tonight, but I thought we did that.”

Edward Little’s Ella Boucher leaps over a Lewiston player to gain control of the ball during the first half of Friday night’s girls soccer match in Lewiston. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

“We were lucky to be able to cash in on a penalty kick that really made the difference,” Lewiston coach Jeff Akerley said. “Leah did a great job. She had a lot of confidence, the way she buried that penalty kick.”

Lewiston got its prime opportunity when Leah Dube was tripped in the box while racing down the right wing. Landry shook off some mounting anxiety to send a rocket well over the head of a leaping Annear and under the crossbar for the difference-maker.

“I was nervous, but we’ve practiced it a lot in practice so I was confident in where I was going to shoot the ball,” Landry said. “I knew that I was going to shoot it to the right, but I was so nervous because I didn’t want to miss.”

Both defenses were stingier in allowing chances in the first half. Lewiston’s best of the first 40 minutes came when Dube hustled to try to follow a shot from 30 yards out and, just before converging with Annear racing out of the net, got off a shot from about 10 yards out that went wide right.

“I feel like we had a lot of chances, but we couldn’t get the ball in the back of the net,” Leah Landry said. “Their goalie did a really good job, too.”

With five minutes left in the half, the Eddies tried to set up a two-on-two in transition with Faith Small streaking down the left wing only to be cut off by Bailee St. Hilaire just before she could exploit the angle she had on Gemma Landry.

Landry needed to make two good stops off of an Eddies corner kick to preserve the scoreless tie early in the second half. In the 10th minute, Dube had a good chance for Lewiston that hit off the left post.

Lewiston’s Julia Paquette, left, and Edward Little’s Katharine Garcia battle for the ball during the first half of Friday night’s soccer match in Lewiston. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

“We played much better. I just told the girls I thought this was our best game so far, our most complete game,” said Bisher, whose team was coming off of a 6-0 loss to Brunswick on Thursday. “I didn’t feel like we had any major defensive lapses. Obviously, tough penalty to take. I thought we played well. We had chances up top. I thought we combined well. I thought we played better as a team tonight and we were trying to keep the ball on the ground and play to feet more.”

Edward Little graduated nine seniors, including seven starters, from last year’s team, and with the delays due to COVID-19 factored in, Bisher figures the Eddies are still trying to get on schedule in terms of their rebuilding but took a step forward after playing a much more even match than the first meeting with Lewiston.

“It’s taken time to try to figure out where to play people, new positions and new spots,” he said. “I’m just trying to remind the girls that this is where we’d normally be in the summertime, and here we are halfway through our season just finding our groove a little bit.”

The Devils, winners of three straight, seem to be finding their own groove, which should help them when they host a tough Maranacook team next Tuesday.

“Throughout this whole season, I feel like we’ve improved a lot,” Leah Landry said. “At the beginning, we weren’t doing so well, but we’re doing much better now with our passing and finding the open person.”

“They’ve progressed since the start of the season. They’ve really grown a lot,” Akerley said of the Devils. “They’re making really good choices on the field. They’re talking more. I couldn’t be prouder. The start of the year, especially with all of this COVID stuff, we really didn’t get a chance to game play as much as I wanted us to, and that really makes a huge difference, being able to touch the ball in game-type situations.”


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