PORTLAND – Some days it’s speed and skill that win your games. Some days it’s plain old hard work. And some days it’s a dizzying mix of all three.
Class B Yarmouth showed a lot of speed, skill and grit Tuesday, dominating Class C Waynflete for a 3-0 victory in a Western Maine Conference boys’ soccer match at Waynflete’s Fore River Complex.
Yarmouth (3-0-2) held the edge in shots (32-1) and corner kicks (5-0). Waynflete keeper Milo Belleau made 15 saves to one by Yarmouth’s Alex Lyon.
Belleau and the Clippers’ own first-half shot selection kept the game as close as it was, 1-0 at halftime.
“They’re obviously a great team and you’re going to have to play well when you come up against them,” Waynflete Coach Brandon Salway said. “We’re a little disappointed in our showing today.”
Adam LaBrie put Yarmouth ahead 1-0 just inside the first two minutes when he picked off a Waynflete back pass about 25 yards out and closed in one-on-one with Belleau. From about 6 yards, he nudged the ball into the lower left corner.
“I saw the back pass coming,” LaBrie said. “Coach (Mike Hagerty) is always saying push up on the last defender (and) that’s what I did.”
It’s lucky for the Clippers he did. Despite outshooting the Flyers 11-0 the rest of the half, the score held.
“Everything felt a half a heartbeat too slow” in the first half, Hagerty said. “In the first half we rushed it. In the second half the quality of play was just better. We had more time because we were playing a little faster, making the ball move faster, so we had a second or two more time and space.”
Ben Decker made the change pay off about eight minutes into the second half when he knocked Ben Vigue’s pass from the right corner into the left side of the goal for a 2-0 lead.
Twenty minutes later, Harry Baker-Connick gave the Flyers (4-1) their only chance, firing a clean shot from 18 yards. Lyon handled it.
“Our organization and marking were just glaringly weak,” Salway said. “So you end up defending 75 percent of the game because you can’t hold onto the ball. We’re better than we played.”
With 21 minutes left, Decker set up Chandler Smith. The play began with Wes Crawford’s free kick from 40 yards. Belleau handled the shot but the rebound sprang free to Decker. He fired a shot and the rebound came back to him. Decker then knocked the ball across the goalmouth to Smith, who put it in for a 3-0 lead.
“I was trying to think in retrospect whether I was crossing it or shooting it,” Decker said. “But it doesn’t matter because (Smith) did exactly what he should have done.”
Both teams now head into the heart of their conference schedules.
“Hopefully this is a jumping-off point,” Salway said. “It’s disappointing but at the same time it’s just one of 14 games. We’re down to nine left, and we have to take advantage of those opportunities and try to get better each week.”