NAPLES—Despite looking defensively solid for long stretches – and despite a noteworthy performance by goalkeeper CJ Ferguson – the Lakers couldn’t nearly keep pace with the visiting Falcons on Saturday morning, Sept. 8. Freeporter Will Winter hashed two goals on the day to lead his boys in walloping Lake Region to the tune of 9-0.

The Falcons notched a couple of points through the first half-hour, but didn’t really snap Lake Region’s back until, with 10:15 left to play before the break, they launched into a flurry of goals – a trio of them – all scored in two minutes flat. Cam Strong scored the first of the three on a centering feed from Eriksen Shea, Griffin Johnson scored the second just 70 seconds later and Winter scored the third less than a minute after that.

Winter scored his second of the morning with two minutes to play in the uphill half, and the Falcons took a 6-0 lead into the intermission.

“We worked really hard for the first 30 minutes,” Harlow said. “That was probably our best soccer so far this year. And [Freeport’s] and incredible team – just looking at them in warmups. So we held our own for the first 30 minutes, which was great, and then had a couple bad goals.”

Harlow isn’t exaggerating; the Lakers’ defense successfully repelled heavy Falcons pressure for much of the game. But a defense – any defense – is going to buckle under an attack that persists, and persists, and persists, and Lake Region’s defense is still a bit wet behind the ears.

“Our defensive group is kind of young,” Harlow said. “We’re working on it, trying to build it, make it stronger. Trying not to give up and make it to the next level. We lost one of our key defenders, which didn’t help out too much. But we’re getting there.”

Ferguson’s performance deserves special note. He faced nearly 30 shots, and saved almost two dozen. Let’s put it this way: He stopped all the shots he was supposed to stop. He turned a number of impressive leaping deflections and a diving block or two.

“He’s working really hard this year,” Harlow said of his netminder. “He’s improving beyond last year; he’s seeing the shots a lot more, he’s getting to the ball a lot quicker. He’s growing. Last year, he would miss the ones that were the key saves, so he’s getting there. We actually have goalie coaches now, in working with him.”

Harlow praised a number of his boys besides Ferguson. “Nate [Bragdon-Clement]; he’s a senior,” Harlow said, asked who played well. “Logan Parsons.” Parsons stood nearby, wearing a fireman’s helmet, which, apparently, is the team’s MVP-of-the-game award. “Their motivation is to win that helmet. Logan Davis. He set the little spark for us at the end of the game.”

Freeport put up three more in the second half. Winter finished with not just two goals, but also two assists on the day. Jake Dumont added a goal for the team, on a penalty kick; Gabe Wagner, Jesse Bennell and Liam Grogan all scored as well.

The loss drops Lake Region to 0-2-1. The Lakers kicked off their schedule by tying St. Dominic on the Saints’ home turf; they then suffered a 2-1 loss, also on the road, to Poland. They travel to Fryeburg on Sept. 11, and host Sacopee Valley on the 14th.

Freeport, meanwhile, jumps to 2-0-1. The Falcons bested G-NG (at G-NG) 4-1 to begin their year, then battle to a 0-0 draw at home vs. Greely. They drop in on mighty Yarmouth on Sept. 11 before hosting York three days later.

“We’ve got a couple games coming up that should be good for us,” Harlow said. “A couple of wins. Once we get a couple wins, we should get on a roll and start moving ahead. Our big thing this year is to stay positive. I’m not worried about this game. We have Yarmouth coming up; I’m not worried about that. We need to work on things in those games and improve. And – you never know what can happen.”

Laker Logan Davis skirts a Freeport opponent.

Lake Region’s Jason Harlow tracks a loose ball.

Matt Mayo drives for the Lakers.

Laker Caleb Emery wheels in the direction of an airborne ball.

CJ Ferguson played an outstanding game for the Lakers, despite their lopsided loss.

Lake Region’s Griffin Johnson gets a high leg on a ball.

Lake Region’s Juan Romero unwinds into a kick.

Laker Lucien Wallace defends against a Freeport opponent.

Walker Elsaesser knees a ball in the midst of a melee.

Thomas Kolofsky heads a ball for the Lakers.

Laker Logan Parsons and Falcon Bill Antoine collide.

Laker Oliver Attwood and Falcon Gabe Wagner go shoulder-to-shoulder in pursuit of the ball.

Laker Nate Bragdon-Clement swoops in to clash with Falcon Liam Grogan.

More than a hundred additional photos for this game can be found here: 

and here: 

Adam Birt can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @CurrentSportsME.