LEWISTON — It takes more than a two-goal deficit to rattle the Brunswick Dragons.

Friday’s Class A North boys soccer semifinal featured skill, agility, talent — and composure — on both sides of the ball. Top-ranked Lewiston and fifth-seeded Brunswick kept their cool and battled to the end, with the Dragons coming out on top with a 3-2 victory. 

Brunswick (13-3-1) goes on to face No. 2 Camden Hills (11-3-1) on Wednesday in the A North final. The Windjammers beat No. 3 Brewer 5-4 on Friday.

The Dragons won it on a Blue Devils own goal with 11:32 left in the game. Lewiston (14-1-1) had plenty of chances to score, but time simply ran out on the Blue Devils’ remarkable run.

The own goal came when the ball bounced off senior defender Levy-prince Likibi as he was turning in a crowd in front of the Lewiston net.

“You know, when we had an own goal at the end, you can’t control it,”  Lewiston coach Dan Gish, who was still feeling stunned, said. “The ball came in with a little swirl to it — a hard shot (and his) body turned a little bit. His body position was at a tough angle.” 

“It is not that we didn’t have opportunities. We put ourselves in the position, and it hurts, it hurts. I am just so impressed how our guys handled it. They remained strong and we are a family. Families go through tough times. I fell really bad for my seniors, but they gave everything.”

The Dragons are not only the only team to beat Lewiston this season, they also were the only team to play the Blue Devils to a draw, 1-1 on Oct. 5.

Lewiston wasted no time getting on the scoreboard in the first half. Junior midfielder Shafi Ibrahim delivered a riveting unassisted goal 56 seconds into the game. He drilled a shot to the right side that bounced off of the side of the right column and into the net.

Less than 15 minutes later, Ibrahim delivered his second unassisted goal to put the Blue Devils up 2-0.

But the Dragons didn’t seemed fazed by falling behind and responded with two goals of their own. First, junior midfielder Liam Driscoll booted the ball just under the cross bar for his goal on an Iain Clendening assist with 5:13 left in the first half.

“We played them to a draw earlier,” Brunswick coach Mark Roma said. “The kids knew they could compete. I told them, ‘We stay close the first half, we are a second-half team …’ and I thought we would be just fine.

“Like I said, I love the composure. You go down that early, and I didn’t see any quit in their eyes. I didn’t see any letdown. I think that is what I am most proud of.”

Brunswick tied it up with 40 seconds left in the first half on a goal by junior midfielder Luke Patterson, with Clendening collecting  his second assist.

“It is an amazing feeling,” Clendening, a junior striker, said. “I don’t want to take the credit, but I give the credit to the team, and we keeping on going and move on. We went down two (goals), but these boys really wanted it.” 

All Roma could add about the own goal was: “The soccer gods can be cruel sometimes.”

There was also strong goaltending at both sides of the field. Lewiston goalie Tanner Anctil made eight saves, and was aided a remarkable save from Likibi, who leaped to the air and kicked the ball away from the Blue Devils’ net during one of Brunswick’s sieges. Dragons goalie Brady LaForge earned his keep with six saves.

“You know we came out, we played well,” Gish said. “We did some great things. Hats off to Brunswick. They kept their composure. They made it hard on us. I think Mark (Roma) does a great job with his kids and they are going to represent the North well.” 


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