Tuesday, May 21, 2013
BY DAVE MCLAUGHLIN
FARMINGTON -- Mt. Blue finished off the regular season with a 2-1 win over Erskine Academy in a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A girls soccer game at Prescott Fields on Wednesday afternoon.
Mt. Blue improves to 8-5-1 and moves into the No. 5 spot in the Eastern Maine Class A playoffs. The Cougars will play in the quarterfinals next Tuesday. Erskine Academy will enter the playoffs as the No. 7 seed and host a No. 10 Cony in a prelim game Friday in South China.
The Cougars passing game up through the middle of the field was strong and they won the majority of plays in the first half to take a 1-0 lead. Erskine tried to rally, but fell behind 2-0 before getting on the board.
"In the first half we played really well," Mt. Blue coach Fred Conlogue said. "We were pressuring the ball and hungry for a goal."
Mt. Blue's persistence paid off late in the first half when Mackenzie Conlogue pounced on a loose ball inside the six and drove it into the roof of the goal with 4 minutes, 25 seconds left in the first half. Conlogue's goal came following an in-swinging corner kick that eluded Erskine keeper Paige Leery.
"That might have been our worst half of soccer this year. Mt. Blue beat us to everything," Erskine coach Ryan Nored said. "We challenged our players at halftime and I thought we controlled the ball in the second half."
The Cougars finished the game with an 18-12 shot advantage, but the Eagles had a 7-6 edge in corner kicks.
Erskine created a number of chances by playing the ball down the right side of the field to winger Jade Canak, but the Cougars defense was equal to the task.
Mt. Blue turned a quick counter attack into a 2-0 lead when Conlogue launched a high ball toward the goal, which Leery knocked away from the net, straight to the feet of Miranda Nicely. Nicely one-time the ball into the top of the goal at 20:48 of the second half.
"I saw what happened on Mackenzie's goal and when I saw the ball going towards the net, I just booked it for the goal," Nicely said. "The ball came down perfectly."
Erksine continued to pressure and found an opening when Bridget Humphrey struck from the top left corner of the penalty area. Humphrey's hard shot sliced into the top right corner cutting the lead to 2-1 and breathed life into the Eagles attack.
"That was an incredible goal," Coach Conlogue said. "She hit a nice shot that any goalkeeper would of found difficult to stop."
Four minutes later, the Eagles nearly tied the game when Canak carried the ball into the goalie area. Her quick shot was stopped by Mt. Blue keeper Thia Bridges. Canak managed to gain control at the right post where the Bridges forced the ball over the end line to avoid overtime.