THORNDIKE – One day after squeezing some needed momentum out of an orange, the Mount View boys soccer team rediscovered the winning touch.
Junior sweeper Derek Keller set up goals by Eben Estell and Jake Mehuren, and senior goalie Ross Caron came up with some big late saves as the No. 8 Mustangs ended a three-game losing streak with a 2-1 victory over No. 9 Mount Desert Island in an Eastern Maine Class B preliminary-round match Wednesday.
“We had big goals in the beginning of the year, and maybe we were just waiting for the playoffs and forgot about the regular season,” said third-year Mount View coach Chris Hink. “The kids want to make a run, but they know they have to go a game at a time.”
Mount View (6-6-3) moves to Saturday’s quarterfinal at No. 1 John Bapst of Bangor (11-2-1).
Those three losses to end the regular season last week not only had left Mount View with a sub-.500 record, but in need of some serious team-building.
Enter the orange, as part of a practice drill Tuesday in which the team sought to advance the fruit from one end of the field – the orange couldn’t touch the ground, and the players couldn’t use their hands.
“They really worked together and found a way to get it from one end to the other,” said Hink. “Everybody was laughing, they were just having a good time. They stayed focused, and they didn’t bicker with each other, which was what the regular season was like. I hope it carried over. They had fun, it was just awesome.”
MDI (6-8-1) took the early territorial edge, but Mount View gained a 1-0 lead with 8:22 left in the first half. Keller sent a long lead pass off a restart to Estell, who was beyond midfield on the left wing. Estell beat a defender to the ball to gain a breakaway bid, then kicked it past charging MDI goalie John Joseph.
“I saw [Estell] going down the field, and I saw the defenders’ backs turned so I just hit it as soon as possible and tried to get it on his feet,” said Keller, who was shifted to sweeper at midseason.
Keller he later showed again that he hasn’t forgotten his playmaking skills. Less than five minutes into the second half, Keller made a perfect centering pass from the left end line toward the goal crease where Mehuren headed the ball inside the left post to give the Mustangs a 2-0 lead.
“I guess I was just at the right place at the right time,” said Mehuren. “I called off one of my teammates, Alex Pierel, and he let me have it and it went in.”
MDI responded with some strong offensive pressure against Caron, as Nathaniel Paine and Tarek Dekkaki both forced the Mount View goalie to make some tough saves.
The Trojans finally got on the board with 3:07 left on a direct kick by Paine from about 30 yards away that curled just inside the far goal post.
MDI finished with a 12-11 advantage in shots and a 7-6 edge in corner kicks.
Joseph made six saves for the Trojans, while Caron made 10 stops.
“We thought this was a winnable game for us” said MDI coach John Rosenfeld. “It was an unfortunate outcome, but I give credit to Mount View.”