SOUTH CHINA — Peyton Houghton and Kayla Hubbard scored first-half goals, and No. 6 Erskine dominated possession the rest of the way to beat No. 11 Maine Central Institute 2-0 in a Class B North prelim game Saturday.

Erskine (11-2-2) advances to play No. 3 Oceanside in the regional quarterfinals on Wednesday. MCI finishes the season 5-9-1.

“We worked really hard for this,” Houghton said. “We knew that we had it in us and we got it. I’m really proud of our team.”

The game was played on a soggy field with varying degrees of rain throughout the match. Erskine was adept at playing short, quick passes, however, and its patience paid off with a 23-8 advantage in total shots.

“Especially in these conditions, it was what we tried to do. Today it wasn’t about hitting the long ball into space,” Erskine Coach Ryan Nored said. “It was about nice, short, easy passes to our feet. The girls are tremendously good at it.”

The Eagles’ willingness to shoot whenever they had a sightline to the goal, from virtually anywhere within 25 yards, produced both goals.

In the 22nd minute, Houghton took a throw-in from Jordan Jowett, cut it back against the grain and ripped a low, skipping shot inside the near post.

Just before the half, at 38 minutes, Hubbard – known for her powerful right (and left) foot – uncorked a cannon that deflected off an MCI defender to beat Huskies goalkeeper Leah Bussell (11 saves).

“We have a lot of girls that can shoot really hard at really long distances,” Hubbard said.

“The girls that we have are really talented at that. Once we open things up, we’re able to take those shots. We’ve just got to work on opening that up more.”

The Eagles continued to take long shots in the second half but were unable to connect for a third goal despite keeping possession for more than 20 minutes.

“Welcome to our whole season,” Nored said.

“Our finishing is a big concern. We’ve got girls that can shoot but we’re making things too complicated sometimes. We’re looking for the perfect shot or the perfect through ball, when we’ve got girls with power who can hit that shot.”

The Eagles started slow and nearly fell behind to the Huskies. Ciera Hamlin worked with Alanha McCarron to get off a good shot that clanged off the crossbar.

The Huskies continued to play with Erskine for the next 10 minutes or so but eventually the Eagles started to take control. Over the final 37 minutes of the first half, MCI managed just one shot.

“I think they kind of identified what we were doing and they started switching a lot,” MCI Coach Autumn Pepin said.

“We had to track that and catch onto what was going on, and I think it took us a little bit to adjust.”