By Kevin Sjoberg
DYER BROOK – Southern Aroostook coach Cliff Urquhart knew Central Aroostook was a team that thrives on momentum, but on Thursday Urquhart’s Warriors made sure that wasn’t a factor.
SACS took control from the opening kickoff, had 10 corner kicks to the Panthers’ two in the first half, and went on to a 3-0 victory in a battle between the No. 4 and No. 5 seeds in the Eastern Maine Class D quarterfinals.
Photograph by Kevin Sjoberg
DRIBBLES — Southern Aroostook’s David Dubois dribbles the ball, while Darin Murray of Central Aroostook approaches. The Warriors defeated the Panthers, 3-0, in the Class D quarterfinals before falling to top-seeded Calvary Chapel in the semifinals.
As much as Southern Aroostook threatened offensively, the team wasn’t able to break through until 1:24 remained in the opening half. David Dubois took a through pass from Pat Goodall and ripped a shot from 15 yards away on the right side past diving CA goalie Ross Grass and into the left side of the goal.
“We came out really strong, but couldn’t capitalize,” Dubois said. “I had the one shot after Pat sent me a nice pass and I put it in.”
The Warriors continued to control play in the second half, and following a yellow card to a CA player and an ensuing direct kick from 20 yards out, Southern Aroostook took a newly-designed play out of the playbook and it worked.
“Coach showed it to us a couple days earlier in practice,” Dubois said. “[With the delay because of the yellow card], we had a chance to discuss it for awhile.”
When the whistle sounded to resume play, Goodall ran over the ball and set himself up to the left of the Panthers’ wall. The CA defenders were instead anticipating a shot by Dubois, but he tapped the ball to Goodall, who one-touched it and hit it inside the lower left corner of the goal for the 2-0 advantage.
“We just put it in, something new for the playoffs,” Urquhart said. “It’s good when you bring something like that in and the kids execute off it.”
Pioneer Times photograph/Kevin Sjoberg
CONTROLS — Southern Aroostook’s Robbie Rockwell controls the ball against Central Aroostook’s Joe Stiles.
The Panthers began to find their offense at that point, but were unable to break through. Dan Brewer, CA’s offensive leader, banged a ball off the left post with 22:05 remaining for the best chance to score.
The Warriors got a late goal from Anthony Diaferio off a Goodall assist to account for the final margin.
SACS goalkeeper Jesse Boulier had three saves on eight shots for the shutout. Grass saved 13 of 18 shots in goal for the Panthers. “I thought we set the tempo early,” Urquhart said. “They are a momentum team, and if they get the momentum, they roll. Getting that goal late in the first half was really big for us.”
By Kevin Sjoberg