AUBURN — The Lewiston and Edward Little boys soccer teams wrapped up the regular season with a rivalry matchup that epitomizes how difficult the Class A North playoffs will be.

At the same time, each squad believes it can play better than it did Tuesday at Edward Little High School.

First-half goals by Moses Lumu and Abdi Hassan were enough for the Blue Devils to earn a 2-0 win over their rivals.

But Lewiston, which finishes the regular season with a 13-0-1 record, wasn’t always sharp at connecting its passes, according to coach Dan Gish.

“They know. They know. I didn’t have to tell them,” Gish said.

“Teams will go through that,” Gish added, “they’ll go through different spurts where everything is clicking and then, today, we just did OK, but we can do a lot better.”

It took nearly 23 minutes for Lewiston to score its first goal. Romano Bassa set up Lumu left of the net, and Lumu kicked the ball around Edward Little goalie Eli St. Laurent and across the goal into the right side of the net.

“It felt good; I put my team up,” Lumu said. “We went for that one goal to give us that momentum … but at the same time, we’re still like, ‘Yo, it’s still 0-0, let’s not think, like we won. It’s 1-0, a lot more can happen.’”

Hassan added to the Blue Devils’ lead late in the half when he fired a shot that St. Laurent stopped but Hassan, who had just returned to the game after leaving with a rolled ankle, gathered the rebound and booted it into the net for a 2-0 advantage with 1:49 remaining before halftime.

“I came back and I was really hungry for the goal, and I was trying to help out my team, so I went in, took a shot, the goalie saved it, and I hit (the rebound) with my left for it to go in on the left side,” Hassan said.

The Blue Devils created more scoring opportunities in the second half, but St. Laurent and the Red Eddies’ defense turned aside each one to keep the score at 2-0.

“It was encouraging, I guess, in the second half to see the boys play with a lot of heart, and I thought that they picked up their intensity a bit,” Edward Little coach Max Thompson said. “I think they were watching Lewiston move the ball a bit in the first half, and I don’t think they were ready to just play with the level of physicality that they needed. So it was encouraging to see them kind of step up a bit in the second half …”

Edward Little (8-5-1) joins Brunswick (in a 1-1 draw on Oct. 5) as the only teams to hold unbeaten Lewiston to two goals or less this season, but Thompson said the Red Eddies aren’t taking a whole lot from that.

“I think some guys were missing out of their lineup, I think (Gish is) resting some guys, so, sure, it’s something to build on, we didn’t come out and get beat 10-0, so that’s something,” Thompson said. “But we’re not just looking to be competitive, we’re looking to win. So this wasn’t the result we were looking for, and obviously we didn’t put any balls in the back of the net, and that isn’t really a good sign, either.”

Among the Lewiston players missing was junior standout Shafi Ibrahim, whose absence Gish said was mostly precautionary. Edward Little also was without key players.

The Red Eddies’ offense struggled to create many scoring opportunities or even advance its attack into the 18-yard box.

“The level of athleticism, the level of speed and physicality that their back line has is really not rivaled by any other team,” Thompson said.

“We have to generate offense in different ways,” he added, “instead of going one-on-one, and we really weren’t able to control the ball and really generate much in terms of an offensive attack. But, you know, it’s not easy. Those guys are fast and good and they’re physical.”

Mohamed Adow, who scored twice in a 5-3 loss to Lewiston last month, did have a couple of opportunities for Edward Little in the second half. With about 15 minutes left, Adow only had Lewiston goalie Tanner Anctil in front of him, but Anctil stopped Adow at the top of the 18-yard box before he was able to make a move or get a shot off. Then, with less than two minutes to play, Adow’s shot on a direct kick sailed over the goal.

Gish lauded the Red Eddies for the way they played Tuesday and for their overall ability.

“They’re going to play hard,” Gish said. “They tried to do a couple things, attack us from various spots, and they’re going to work hard.”

Lewiston will have the No. 1 seed in the A North playoffs. The Blue Devils are focused on trying to add a state championship to those they won in 2015, 2017 and 2018.

“They’re positive. They’re hungry,” Gish said. “You finish with the record we did, but they’re not satisfied. We’ll have a mental reset, and then it’s back to work. They know what we need to do — it’s one game at a time, one play at a time — and they know what they want to do, but you’ve got to earn it, and it’s going to be a battle … there’s teams out there that can play.”

Lumu and Hassan, who are seniors, said that they and the other Blue Devils who participated in the most recent postseason also are focused on a better ending than the disappointing 5-2 loss to Falmouth in the 2019 state title game.

“If we take this seriously … we’ll be one of the greatest in the state,” Lumu said. “We know we’re a good team, but we don’t let that distract us. We built that trust, and that trust brought us here, and it’s going to keep bringing us up and up.”

Added Hassan: “We are hungry, because we just lost it recently, in 2019, so we’re just trying to come back and win it for our city again. Do it for the city, do it for the school.”

Edward Little, meanwhile, recognizes the skill of other A North teams, such as Lewiston, Brunswick, Bangor, Camden Hills and Brewer. But Thompson said the Red Eddies have the skill to compete and win in the postseason.

“If we can get healthy, I think that we can compete with everybody. I’m not sure if we can beat everybody, but I’m sure that we can be in games,” he said. “The nice thing about the playoffs is it really is just going to take one moment of brilliance, it’s just going to take one breakthrough, and that might be the difference in the game. And I think that if we’re competitive and we can have a little bit of that go our way, then, you know, I like our chances.”


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