BRUNSWICK HIGH SCHOOL boys soccer player Christian Glover (5) and teammate Sawyer Nicholson chase down Hampden Academy's Lucas Flanagan (16) during a Class A North match in Brunswick on Friday night. Brunswick won, 6-1.

BRUNSWICK HIGH SCHOOL boys soccer player Christian Glover (5) and teammate Sawyer Nicholson chase down Hampden Academy’s Lucas Flanagan (16) during a Class A North match in Brunswick on Friday night. Brunswick won, 6-1.

BRUNSWICK

It’s only been two weeks since their heartbreaking overtime loss to rival Mt. Ararat, but the Brunswick High School boys soccer team is a different team.

It took the Dragons five matches to get their first win of the season (7-0 over Oxford Hills), but now that they’re in the win column, things are looking up. Even a 4-1 loss to undefeated Lewiston last Tuesday was a positive sign for coach Mark Roma — he knew a result like Friday night’s was on the way.

With dominant possession and clinical finishing, Brunswick rippled the net six times and earned Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference win No. 2, defeating visiting Hampden Academy, 6-1.

“I feel like they just kept believing,” Roma said of his squad. “We knew we were going to be a team that was going to get better every practice, every session, every drill — it’s hard to believe it when you’re not getting the results. We got our first win and even though we took our lumps against Lewiston, the guys saw it. I felt like tonight was going to be kind of like that coming-out party.”

Brunswick (2-3-2) took a firm grip of the ball in the opening few minutes of the match and didn’t let go. After a flicked-on header was saved and two more shots narrowly missed the frame, Henry Doherty broke through. The senior captain gathered a pass on the right-hand side of the box and cut in, dribbling. He weaved through three defenders before firing a low shot back across Hampden Academy (2-5) goalkeeper Sam Lilley and into the corner.

The Dragons watched two more shots clank off the post and another roll by an empty net before adding a second goal. Senior forward Carlyle Boyle controlled a long ball over the top and coolly finished by Lilley with just under seven seconds left in the half to make it 2-0.

Before the decisive win over Oxford Hills, Brunswick had scored just three goals all season.

“We’ve really started to come together,” Doherty said. “We’ve been working hard and just building the chemistry. We’re a fairly young team, a lot of the players are new, so it’s starting to come together well.”

More goals

Just four minutes into the second half, winger Sawyer Nicholson took a pass from Emmet Taub on the right and fired into the net to make the score 3-0. After netting just two of 12 shots in the first frame, the Dragons kicked up the efficiency and turned seven shots into four scores in the second. Boyle and Christian Glover each took two more chances that flew off the post.

Hampden Academy finally broke through on a corner kick in the 64th minute when an Alex Ross header into the ground beat Brunswick keeper Josh Dorr, but the momentum lasted all of 20 seconds. Right off the ensuing tap, Taub was on the end of a few quick passes and had a hit from distance — the ball curled into the air and sharply dipped back down into the net past Lilley and suddenly it was 4-1.

The Broncos’ goal was just the second shot on Dorr’s frame all night, and the one true test he faced. He made six saves and watched two more go well wide of the net. Brunswick, on the other hand, took three corners on top of its 19 shots and had Lilley, and later substitute Cole Tweedle, working all night.

Most of the chances were started with long spurts of possession and ball movement — something the Dragons lacked early in the season. Spreading the ball wide, switching fields and playing accurate through balls all led to dangerous sequences and often goals. When Hampden

Academy got the ball, Brunswick quickly dispossessed or took control of wild passes.

“The possession’s very important because if we don’t have the ball, we’re going to be stuck on defense for most of the game,” Doherty said. “But it’s also important to get forward and start to get some goals. I feel like we did that a lot better tonight than we have in the best.”

“It was less frantic,” Roma said. “Guys are getting to know their roles and they’re moving without the ball. So, they don’t have to think — they can play it before the player’s there because they know where they’re getting to. I’m excited and I think they’re getting it too, which is nice.”

Chris Roderick curled a shot into the net from the left-hand side of the box and Taub added a penalty kick in the 73rd minute to bring the score to 6-1.

Hampden Academy coach Josh Stevens said the biggest difference in the game was simply the age gap. Brunswick’s starting 11 is almost exclusively upperclassmen, while the Broncos have just a handful of seniors on their entire varsity roster.

Despite the competition, it was a crucial game for Brunswick. With seven matches up and seven to go, now is the time to turn the season around.

“You hate to use the term ‘must-win,’ but tonight was a must-win,” Roma said. “We had to come out and we had to prove ourselves. I told them we had to step on them early. You can have a game plan but you’ve still got to execute. I’m just so proud these guys executed tonight — they did a great job.”

“It’s awesome to get another win,” Doherty said. “Our record’s not amazing this year, but it’s getting better. It’s just coming together.”

Brunswick 6,
Hampden 1

Friday at Brunswick High School
Hampden — 0 1 — 1
Brunswick — 2 4 — 6
Goals — (H) Alex Ross; (B)
Henry Doherty, Carlyle Boyle,
Sawyer Nicholson, Emmet Taub 2,
Chris Roderick.
Assists — (B) Emmet Taub,
Henry Doherty.
Shots — Brunswick 19, Hampden
8.
Saves — (H) Sam Lilley 8, Cole
Tweedle 2; (B) Josh Dorr 6.
Corner kicks — Hampden 3,
Brunswick 3.
Records — Brunswick 2-3-2,
Hampden 2-5.
Up next for the Dragons — Tuesday at Bangor, 6 p.m.


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