Westbrook 1

South Portland 1

A second half goal by Tony Haeuser and a tremendous effort from goaltender Ryan Chapin led South Portland to a stunning 1-1 tie over powerhouse Westbrook on a rainy Saturday afternoon in high school soccer action.

“It was a good game, and I’m really excited with a tie,” said South Portland head coach Bryan Hoy. “This gives us a lot of points in the Heals, points we really had been missing earlier in the season that we can now make up for.”

Westbrook head coach Timothy Gillis said he was disappointed with the tie, but praised the Riots’ efforts. “We should have put the game away in the first half,” Gillis said. “When you don’t do that, any team in the league can hurt you. South Portland is very well coached, and I’m sure they were pleased to split the points.”

Westbrook took an early 1-0 lead on a goal from senior forward and team captain Zack Johnson, with an assist from junior midfielder Tyler Rand. The Blue Blazes kept up the pressure throughout the first half, clearly outplaying South Portland, especially in the final 10 minutes before halftime. Johnson made a bid for a second goal, but goaltender Ryan Chapin made one of many impressive saves for the Red Riots.

“I thought it could have slipped away from us (early in the game),” said Hoy. “At halftime, I told them to play a little more physical, and really play with Westbrook and not be afraid of them. My guys bounced back, and I thought we really kept the pressure on in the second half.”

Both Westbrook and South Portland opened strong in the second half. Westbrook’s Zack Souza took two shots on South Portland’s net, only to have Chapin make the save. South Portland’s Igor Zjaca and Nicholas Laigos made their own bids for goals, yet Westbrook goalie Gailen Perkins made the stops.

South Portland tied the game on Tony Haeuser’s goal halfway through the second half, with the assist coming from Brody Preston. One goal for each team was all the scoring that would happen during the contest.

“I didn’t really see where they were going to get a goal (they hadn’t had any shots in the first half),” Gillis said. “But we let them stay in it by not finishing the chances we had created for ourselves. So they deserved the draw.”

During the final fifteen minutes during regulation, Westbrook created many scoring opportunities, but Chapin made sure to keep his team in the game. Any time South Portland tried to clear the ball from their end, Westbrook defender Zach Russell was there to make sure the ball stayed in South Portland territory. Another great save late in regulation for Chapin sent the game into overtime.

“Chapin was excellent today,” said Hoy. Chapin made 12 saves during the game.

During the first of two overtime periods, South Portland’s Brad Arsenault took two shots on the Westbrook net, only for Perkins to make the stops and keep the game going and send it into double overtime. Westbrook nearly won the game on a close shot from Souza that had the crowd yelling a collective “Oh!” in response. When the final horn sounded, the scoreboard indicated a 1-1 tie.

Westbrook’s next game was scheduled for Sept.19, at home against Cheverus.

South Portland’s Bryce McOsker heads the ball over Westbrook’s Tyler Rand and out of the Red Riot zone in Saturday’s game in South Portland.

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