Thursday, December 5, 2013
By MARK JEANNERET Special to the Press Herald
KENNEBUNK - A goalkeeper's success in penalty kicks comes down to much more than a simple guessing game.
John Burns prepares for each shot by closely studying the opposition and looking for the slightest sign that might provide an upper hand.
Burns showed a studious eye and exceptional athleticism Wednesday night to deny the first two shots he faced in penalty kicks and help lift Kennebunk to a 2-1 victory against Deering in a Western Class A boys' soccer quarterfinal.
Fourth-seeded Kennebunk outscored fifth-ranked Deering 4-1 in the penalty kicks that followed two 15-minute overtimes.
The victory moved Kennebunk (10-2-3) into a regional semifinal Saturday at top-ranked Gorham (13-0-2).
"It's seeing which way his hips are going, which is his plant foot, does he look nervous and can I get him off his game a little," said Burns about his approach to penalty kicks.
"It's many different things. As much as people like to say it's either dive right or left, pick one, it's a 50-50 chance. It's really a read and react."
Burns lunged to his right to make his first stop and moved left to deny the second Deering opportunity.
The two saves led the way to a 3-0 advantage for Kennebunk in PKs: Chris Hynes, Lucas Butterfield and Mike Ottman had successful shots, and Deering's Stephen Ochen forced a fourth round of kicks before Ryan Keefe clinched it.
"I've been telling people since the summer that (Burns) has to be in the top five when you talk about the top keepers in the state," said Kennebunk Coach Nate Bean.
"I think he proved that tonight. He was fantastic."
Deering goalkeeper Anthony Russo also was sharp.
Kennebunk created several opportunities in the opening half, only to be turned away when Russo came up with three exceptional saves for Deering (9-4-3) to keep the game scoreless.
Griffin Drigotas broke the stalemate with 3:24 left in the half when he broke free and beat Russo with a low shot to give Kennebunk a 1-0 lead.
Deering had a pair of chances to draw even in the second half. The best was a shot by Abdi Hassan 24 minutes into the period that looked as if it was destined to find the top corner. Burns kept the game scoreless with his best save in regulation, getting a good jump on the ball and tipping it wide.
Ochen forced a second straight trip into postseason overtime (and eventually penalty kicks) for Deering with 4:55 left in regulation when he controlled the ball off a throw-in and beat Burns with a low shot to make it 1-1.
Both teams had chances in overtime, but Burns and Russo came up with saves to force penalty kicks.
"In the second half and overtime, we both had our chances to put it away but it went into PKs," said Deering Coach Joel Costigan. "One week we win, one week we don't. It's a rough way to end."