GSA soccer battles Orono in back-to-back games

BLUE HILL – It was a busy couple of days at the George Stevens Academy soccer field on September 20 and 21, as both the boys and the girls hosted Orono in two Class C East showdowns.

Senior goalkeeper Alec Witham makes a diving save. Photo by Monique Labbe

In a battle of the only two unbeaten teams left in Class C, the boys kept the 0 in the loss column but recorded the team’s third tie of the season in a 1-1 draw on Thursday. The two teams have the same 4-0-3 record heading into the weekend.

Sophomore Grayson Eaton sprints up the field with the ball on offense. Photo by Monique Labbe

After pounding the Orono keeper with shots through the first 17 minutes of the first half, George Stevens capitalized on a bouncing loose ball in the Red Riots’ 18. Sophomore Owen Vinall was able to get a foot on it and found the back of the net to give the Eagles the 1-0 advantage.

Possession of the ball was equal during the first half, as both teams tested the defenses and came up with scoring opportunities. George Stevens Academy goalkeeper Alec Witham was a force in the net, thwarting every Orono shot to keep the game at 1-0 going into halftime.

After 10 minutes of back-and-forth play in the second half, Orono set the ball just outside the George Stevens Academy 18 for a direct kick. The set shot had just enough movement to scoot past the defensive wall of the Eagles and under the hands of Witham, and the game evened up at 1-1. At the end of regulation, that tie forced the game into overtime, which ended in the draw.

Freshman Michael Moon defends against an Orono player. Photo by Monique Labbe

The third-ranked Eagles will take on fourth-seated Houlton at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at home.

The girls team was not quite so successful against Orono the day before, falling 0-5 to the defending Class C State champions.

After staving off early shots on goal, the George Stevens Academy defense allowed a goal at the 29-minute mark to allow Orono the 1-0 lead. Less than a minute later, Eagles goalkeeper Bess MacArthur lost the ball in the sun on a savable shot that found the back of the net.

Junior goalkeeper Bess MacArthur lays out to make a save. Photo by Monique Labbe

The Eagles offense, under the direction of seniors Lindsay Nevin and Nellie Haldane, had a couple key scoring opportunities during the later minutes of the half. The offense was unable to get the ball into the net, though, and George Stevens went into halftime trailing 0-2.

Junior defender Mallory Charette makes a steal against an Orono player. Photo by Monique Labbe

Orono’s offense kept the momentum going in the second half, scoring an early goal eight minutes in off a rebound after an initial diving save by MacArthur. The Eagles suffered a big loss in the backfield with 26 minutes left in regulation, as junior sweeper Julianna Allen had to come out of the game following a hard shot to the head off an Orono kick. The Red Riots found the goal twice more in the half on its way to the team’s sixth win of the season. Meanwhile, the Eagles fell to 2-4-1.

The girls will play at home Saturday against Houlton at 1 p.m.

Sophomore Vanessa Sherwood takes the ball into Orono territory on offense. Photo by Monique Labbe

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