Sunday, March 9, 2014
By GREG REID Special to the Press Herald
BRUNSWICK - It took Eric Kousky just 46 seconds into overtime to do what no one could do over 80 minutes: slip cleanly through the defense and knock the ball into the net.
Kousky, a junior back, headed in an end-line cross from Blake Gordon in the first overtime Wednesday to lift Brunswick to a 1-0 victory over rival Mt. Ararat in a steamy Eastern Class A boys' soccer match.
"I noticed no one was (on the back post)," Kousky said. "So sort of ran up there, got to Blake's cross and it just went in. It was the best feeling in the world."
The Dragons (1-1), who opened Friday with a decisive 4-0 loss at Hampden Academy, had a tough assignment for Game 2: take on a deep Eagles (1-2) team that reached the 2012 state final, in near 90-degree heat with high humidity.
"Coach (Mark Roma) told us to come out as fast as we could," Gordon said. "The plan was to substitute a lot to keep the energy level high."
Brunswick did come out fast -- and wide -- spreading the Eagles' three-man back line and creating space along the flanks, where Jesse Alford, Josh Clark and Gordon connected repeatedly on the give-and-go to reach the edge of Mt. Ararat's penalty area.
When the Eagles dropped a midfielder back, Brunswick found success in the midfield, chiefly through the determination of the likes of Cam Glover.
"Basically, Brunswick worked harder than we did," Mt. Ararat Coach Rick Renaud said.
It was quite a change from Brunswick's opening night.
"I told them that you have to be willing to suffer," Roma said. "Winning isn't always fun but it's fun to win. With a little luck we can build on this result."
Brunswick held a decided edge in corner kicks (9-4), but Mt. Ararat held the smallest of leads on shots (11-10) and saves (10-9).
Mt. Ararat center back Eric Knight did what he could to scuttle Brunswick's attack, launching long balls for the Eagles' Griffin Stockford and Andrew McCracken. That made for a long day for Brunswick's defenders, but they held strong in front of keeper Ryan Brescia.
In OT, Brunswick quickly found its way into Mt. Ararat's end.
"We were pressing to get that goal," Gordon said. "I took one touch down to the end line, crossed one in and Eric was there, and he put it in."