Friday, March 7, 2014
A few notes from Thursday’s Western Maine Class C regional boys soccer championship game between Waynflete and Hall-Dale at Thomas College. Hall-Dale won 1-0 on penalty kicks.
• The new turf soccer field at Thomas is impressive, one Thomas College soccer coach Chris Parsons called the best he’d ever seen. It sits beside a new turf field for field hockey and is phase 1 of a project expected to include locker rooms and an administrative building and possibly a field house or ice arena.
Hall-Dale athletic director Tim Johnson is considering asking Thomas if his team can play a regular-season game there next fall.
• The teams returned most of the players who faced one another last year in the tournament semifinal, won by Waynflete 1-0 on penalty kicks. Hall-Dale coach Andy Haskell employed a defensive strategy to keep the Flyers skilled ball handlers on the perimeter.
“We used the same exact formation as we did last year,” Haskell said. “We had scouted them out. I had watched them play three times and we knew who their danger players were.”
• Haskell dropped leading scorer Zack McNaughton (26 goals) from offense to the back line to shore up his defense. Late in the game, Haskell moved McNaughton back to forward.
“Zack’s a very unselfish player,” he said. “We moved him up to change the pace, but we had to move him back (again) to negate some of their offensive thrusts.”
• When the teams went to penalty kicks, Waynflete’s Kevin Kanakan fired the first attempt over the goal. All the rest of them connected against Waynflete goalie Zander Majercik and Hall-Dale’s Sam Shepherd.
“I feel for him because I know exactly how it feels,” Shepherd said. “In PKs, you just got to pick a side and pray.”
• Haskell took Shepherd out of the goal for the fourth Waynflete penalty kick and replaced him with McNaughton who played goal some last season and a couple of season before that.
“Zack McNaughton’s probably one of the best athletes in class C soccer. He was our goalie for about two and half year. He’s our most versatile player. I just thought it would break up the momentum, just to change the tempo of the game.”
• Hall-Dale’s defense stopped several shots before they even got to Shepherd. Defenders also cleared away two balls in front of an open net after Shepherd made a save and was caught out of position.
“Connor Longfellow and Ezra Jones played a great game and Nick Sinclair was solid in the back and Wyatt Rush stepped up. The guys in the back did their job.”
• Hall-Dale will be making its first appearance in a state championship game Saturday when it faces Eastern Maine champion Houlton at Scarborough High School. Game time is 10 a.m. Houlton reached the state title game for the first time last year, losing 2-1 to Waynflete.
Travis Lazarczyk has worked at the Morning Sentinel and Kennebec Journal since 2000. He covers football, basketball and baseball. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/tlazarmaine