BANGOR – Alan Gordon was a bit concerned how his University of Maine at Presque Isle men’s soccer team would react a day after a tough shutout loss, and if the Owls could hold up against the Husson College, which hadn’t played since Wednesday.
But in the first 50 minutes of play Sunday against Husson, the Owls looked like the fresher team. Although the Eagles would rebound and come out strong in the second half, UMPI’s strong defense and a good bounce for the winning goal helped lift the Owls to a 2-1 victory at Boucher Field.
Husson, now 3-3, beat UMPI 4-0 two weeks ago in the Owls’ invitational tournament.
“Today we just wanted to come out and beat ’em,” said Patrick Rodgers, who was credited with the game-winner in the second half. “We didn’t want to lose another one.”
Rodgers and the Owls were the beneficiaries of a bounce that came off the head of Husson’s Michael McCarron, who was trying to clear a Rodgers corner kick. The ball hit McCarron, popped up, hit the crossbar, and fell into the net.
Rodgers said he wasn’t trying to score on the corner kick but just wanted to create chances for the Owls, who were 2-5-1 after a 3-0 loss to UM-Farmington Saturday.
“We got beat up hard yesterday but give these guys credit,” Gordon said. “They sucked it up and did what they needed to do.”
The winning goal came a little more than three minutes into the second half, which meant the UMPI defense would have to hold up.
The Eagles tried hard to rally, outshooting the Owls 11-5 in the second half. Leading scorer Shane Coffin got off several hard shots, but the balls were either directed right to UMPI goalie Braden Dragomir (11 saves on 16 shots) or sailed over or wide of the goal.
Improved midfield play helped Husson create most of those attacks.
“We’ve got our strength there as far as speed,” Husson coach Scott Warman said. “They couldn’t [contain] us because we always had another guy making a run to the middle.”
The Owls had a 6-5 edge in shots in the first half. They came out strong early and took a 1-0 lead when Andy Broomhall scored after a Jay Johnson corner kick in the 12th minute.
Coffin tied it up in the 21st minute off a crossing pass from Ben Sobey.
UMPI defender Ryan Scott had the job of marking the speedy Coffin.
“I knew he was their target guy and if we shut him down they wouldn’t have much to go with,” Scott said.
Husson goalie Matt Goodman made four saves on 16 shots.
The Eagles also were coming off a loss to UMF, a 4-0 defeat last Wednesday.
“I’m worried about the spirits,” Warman said.