October 11, 2013

HIGH SCHOOL BOYS SOCCER: Bulldogs hand Saints 1st defeat

By Gary Hawkins ghawkins@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

WATERVILLE -- A soccer team that limits the scoring opportunities of Nat Crocker and Konnor Longfellow has a chance to beat Hall-Dale this season. So far no one has.

click image to enlarge

GOOD START: Hall-Dale’s Konnor Longfellow celebrates after scoring a first-half goal that put the Bulldogs up 1-0 against St. Dominic on Friday at Thomas College in Waterville.

Staff photo by Joe Phelan

click image to enlarge

MOVE OVER: Hall-Dale’s Nat Crocker, middle, tries to slip between St. Dominic defenders Ryan Lutrzykowski, left, and Calvin Stewart on Friday at Thomas College in Waterville

Staff photo by Joe Phelan

Friday night at Thomas College, Crocker fed Longfellow for a first-half goal, then the Bulldogs held on to hand St. Dominic of Auburn a 1-0 loss, its first of the season.

Hall-Dale is 11-0-0 in Mountain Valley Conference play while St. Dom's falls to 10-1-1. These teams will likely meet for the conference championship in two weeks and, like Friday night's game, that one could go either way.

Longfellow scored his 21st goal of the season 23 minutes into the first half when Crocker fed him a pass on the right wing and a St. Dom's defender slipped on the turf.

"There was really no one on me," Longfellow said. "Nat passed it to me perfectly, so I kind of looked down to the left and popped it right in."

Hall-Dale put four shots on St. Dom's goalie Ben Sawyer in the first half while Brian Allen stopped just one. The second half was another story as the Saints dominated possession and peppered Allen with nine shots on goal, by far the most he's faced this season.

"It's really adrenaline pumping," Allen said. "I'd like to have a bit more of them. I can't wait for playoffs."

The Saints SJ Park nearly tied the game 14 minutes into the second half with a shot that Allen smothered on the goal line.

"I had a hand on the side of it and hand on top of it and he pretty much just slide-tackled into me," Allen said.

Sawyer made just two saves in he second half but both were beauties off Longfellow breakaways. In the first 40 seconds, Crocker sent Longfellow in alone but Sawyer came out to the top of the circle to stop him. On the second, with 15 minutes left, he made a diving save to his right.

"When you have two really skilled teams it's all about mistakes," St. Dom's coach Marty Bressler said. "But I'm really pleased the way we came on. That's just the way it is. I think if it wasn't for that mistake we'd be talking 0-0."

The Bulldogs defense packed it in around Allen in the second half and maintained their discipline despite the Saints onslaught.

"That's always the game plan," Hall-Dale coach Andy Haskell said. "They're a quality club and they've got a lot of kids who can swing the ball real well. I know they carried 85 percent of the play (in the second half), but (we got the win) and that's what matters."

Gary Hawkins -- 621-5638


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