Class C boys soccer
EAST CORINTH – Penobscot Valley’s Mike Bernard gave credit to the Howlers’ defense after he scored two goals Saturday to beat the host Central Red Devils 2-1 for the Eastern Maine Class C schoolboy soccer title.
“We stopped them and then I got the ball both times on defensive chips,” said Bernard, PVHS’ senior striker, who upped his season goal total to 15. “When I got the long chips, I was able to outrun the defense.”
The second-ranked Howlers captured the school’s fourth EM title (1978, ’84, and ’86) and improved to 12-2-3. They will play for the state title next Saturday against Western Maine champ Sacopee Valley of South Hiram, a 1-0 winner over North Yarmouth Academy.
The Red Devils, who were top-seeded, finished at 12-4-1. Toby Pineo scored the C-EC goal when he rebounded a shot by Anthony Wolverton.
Both teams took turns dominating a half as the Red Devils won most of the 50-50 balls and controlled the first-half flow with an 11-2 shots-on-goal advantage. In the second half, the Howlers moved the ball with better balance down the wings and middle and outshot the Red Devils 10-8.
The difference between the two halves was the Howlers had better, high-percentage shots, testing C-EC goalkeeper David Green, while the Red Devils had several shots in the first half which were easily stopped by PVHS goalie Carleton Thurlow.
“(Central) had a few hard shots, but most of them were soft chips,” Thurlow said.
The game’s three goals came in the final 18:30 and Bernard’s game-winner came with 1:51 left.
Aaron Tourtillotte set up the winning goal when he launched the ball out of the C-EC offensive zone to about 10 yards past midfield to the waiting Bernard, who had two Red Devil defenders to beat.
Bernard pushed the ball to the left, away from the defenders, and outran them to about the 12-yard line where he drove a hard-line, left-footed shot into the net’s top right corner.
Thurlow launched a goal kick to set up the Howlers’ first goal with 18:30 left. The ball was pushed ahead to the speedy Bernard at midfield. Bernard dribbled the ball through two Red Devil defenders, charged down to inside the 18-yard line, and then grounded a shot past Green into the net’s left side.
“That first goal put a scare into us, but I knew the kids would not give up,” Central Coach Andy Frace said. “I knew they could come back.”
About 12 minutes after Bernard’s goal, Central’s Eric Kepple cleared the ball out of PVHS’ offensive zone and moved it down the right sideline to Wolverton.
Wolverton charged down the right side to inside the 18 and fired an eight-yard blast which Thurlow slapped out. Pineo was there to clean up, however, as he quickly settled the ball and pushed it back past Thurlow with 6:11 left.
“(Central) beat us on the same kind of shot in our last game,” Thurlow said.
Bernard fired eight shots on goal for PVHS, while Paul Speed had five for Central and Wolverton three.
A five-yard goal off a Speed direct kick 3:45 into the game was disallowed because C-EC was offside.
Thurlow saved 11 Central shots and Green stopped six by PVHS.