It isn’t often when teams meeting in the Class A North soccer postseason haven’t faced each other during the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference regular season.

But such was the case on Wednesday as second-seeded Brunswick hosted No. 7 Brewer in a boys high school quarterfinal.

Leading 1-0 early in the second half, the Dragons were protecting a 1-0 lead, but the Witches were pressing for the tying goal. A high, bending ball slipped through the grasp of Brunswick keeper Jack McDiarmid and appeared to be heading toward his vacated cage. However, defenseman Matty LaForge came out of seemingly nowhere and cleared the ball out of danger.

Moments later, Liam Driscoll put home a rebound of a Lane Foushee shot, giving the Dragons a 2-0 lead.

The Dragons added two more goals down the stretch as Mark Roma’s team left the pitch celebrating a 4-0 victory and a spot in the semifinals.

“We talk about the third goal being the biggest goal, but at the half we felt the second goal would be big and it had to be us,” said Roma of Driscoll’s goal with 30:53 left in regulation. “For us to be able to pull it off was tremendous. It shows the resiliency of this team. Every night, anybody can step up and be that hero.”

For LaForge, he felt that he was just doing his job in helping defend his goal.

“I knew that I had to get back and be on the line. I was able to kick it out. It was a big turning point, along with the Liam’s goal,” said LaForge.

Slow start

Neither team pressed the issue early, with Brewer and Brunswick (13-1-1) feeling each other out.

“I was worried, and I felt coming in that I would have rather faced just about anybody else other than them,” said Roma of taking on the Witches, who finished with a 5-10 record. “You can talk to other coaches, but there is nothing like seeing and playing a team live. I was impressed on how they played, I wouldn’t be surprised if we were right back here at this time next year. They stepped it up and out-worked us at times in this game.”

McDiarmid charged out of his goal to take a scoring chance away from Brewer striker Gavin Carr, then made a save on a high shot from Kyle Goodrich to keep the game scoreless.

Brunswick struck for the game’s first goal. With the teams beginning to play more aggressively, Dragon Miguel Alfonso started the scoring play near midfield, sending a pass to Josh Musica, who let loose a low shot that had Brewer goaltender Matt Mousseau diving to stop. The rebound found the foot of David Nzuzi, with his shot finding the back of the net with 20:57 left until halftime.

Brewer’s best chance came late in the opening frame. Brendan Saunders’ header glanced off the crossbar and bounced back into play in front of the Brunswick goal. A dangerous play was called on the Dragons, giving the Witches a free kick from five-yards out. Brunswick’s wall forced a Brewer pass wide, leaving the Witches down a goal at the break.

As the second half progressed, both goalies made an early save before Driscoll doubled the Brunswick lead.

“That was the turning point of the game,” said Driscoll. “After that two-goal mark, we just knew they were not coming back. We had the confidence to push forward. It was even in the first half, but we began possessing the ball more toward the end of the first half. In the second half, we brought out the intensity.”

Brunswick defensemen Coenradt Taylor, Alec Hess and Luke Cheseldine continued to stand tall, and the Dragons found some more offense with a pair of quick strikes. Nzuzi scored his second with 7:21 left. Foushee and Musica again created havoc in front of Mousseau, with Nzuzi cleaning up a loose ball from in close for a 3-0 lead.

Less than a minute later, Driscoll and Foushee hooked up again, with Foushee (one goal, two assists) beating Mousseau to the right post for the fourth goal.

McDiarmid was busy at times in the Brunswick cage, turning away 10 shots. Mouseeau made 11 saves, with Brunswick finishing with a 15-11 shot advantage. Thanks to five corner kicks in the second half, the Witches held a 7-4 advantage.

Comments are not available on this story.