Wednesday, December 11, 2013
By Paul Betit firstname.lastname@example.org
CAPE ELIZABETH - Noble made sure its first appearance in the Western Class A boys' soccer tournament in 10 years was a memorable one Saturday.
Brandon Vigneault and Seth Shave scored second-half goals as the No. 11 Knights knocked off No. 6 South Portland 2-0 in a prelim at Hannaford Field.
It was thought to be Noble's first-ever tournament victory.
"We didn't want to play just this first game," said Jake Emard, a senior midfielder who had an assist on Shave's goal. "We wanted to make it quite a way so we pushed pretty hard."
The game was moved to Cape Elizabeth because of unplayable conditions on South Portland's natural turf field.
"I thought the artificial turf would help us because of our speed," South Portland Coach Bryan Hoy.
But Noble did a good job of controlling the tempo, especially in their defensive end.
"They did a good job of making sure they kept the ball out of their defensive end," Hoy said. "In the middle of the field I thought we did a good job of controlling possession and when we got to the offensive third, they were always right there."
It was the only the second time this season the Riots (8-4-3) were shut out.
"No disrespect to Noble, but I thought we played fantastic today and they just put a couple in on rebounds," Hoy said.
It was the eighth shutout of the season by the Knights (9-6), who are 7-1 away from home and will play at third-seeded Greely in a quarterfinal Wednesday.
"We stuck to the game plan," Coach Matt Foster said. "We've worked all year on communicating and playing the ball to other people, and finally we did it."
Vigneault opened the scoring in the 48th minute when he walked the ball into an open net after goalie Ben Burkey made a diving stop on Josh Davis' blast from 15 yards in front.
Instead of dropping back to protect their lead, the Knights kept on the counter-attack.
"We tried to get fresh bodies in there and keep moving around," said Foster, in his second season with the Knights. "Taking the attack to them was huge because they're so good. We didn't want to hang back and give them that opportunity, so we tried to maintain possession and keep the attack coming at them."
With less than three minutes left, Shave made it 2-0 on a rebound after Burkey, who made four of his five saves in the second half, stopped Emard's direct kick from 25 yards.
The teams didn't meet in the regular season.
Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: