Two first half goals helps PCHS top Sumner in a Class C North prelim; Pirates advance to face No. 1 Fort Kent

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GUILFORD — A pair of goals in the opening half and a shutout effort by the defense helped the Piscataquis Community High School boys best Sumner Memorial High School of Sullivan 2-0 in a Class C North preliminary round soccer match between the eighth- and ninth-ranked teams in the region on the afternoon of Oct. 21.

In 2016 the two programs also played in the prelims — the visiting Tigers won 7-1 — and the 2017 postseason game was the first meeting between PCHS and Sumner in the 52 weeks since.

The Pirates had more scoring opportunities early and with less than 15 minutes to go in the first half the team was awarded its fourth corner kick of the first 40-minute session (vs. one for Sumner).

Senior Cameron Kane adjusted the ball at the right corner and he then backed up several steps to get a running start. Kane sent the ball toward the box and classmate Bryce Gilbert ran toward the right post once the kick was in the air. Gilbert one-touched the ball into the right side of the goal to put PCHS on the board at the 14:37-mark.

Just over two minutes after breaking the 0-0 stalemate, PCHS struck again. The team was awarded a free kick and Gilbert booted the ball from the left directly at the Tiger goal.

Sumner sophomore keeper Alex Rumill got ahold of Gilbert’s shot but he mishandled the ball as the netminder and PCHS Dillon Drew got their cleats tangled and both fell to the ground. With the ball loose, Drew popped up first and he softly kicked it in for the 2-0 advantage with 12:28 left to play in the first half.

The visiting team had ample time to work with to get onto the scoreboard, but the Pirate defense would preserve the shutout over the next 52-plus minutes. Sophomore Sean Kimball would make a game-high 12 saves on 13 shots.

The victory improved PCHS to 8-6-1 as the team won its third game in a row and now has gone 4-1-1 in the last half dozen contests. Sumner ends 2017 with a record of 9-5-1, losing for the first time in four contests and suffering defeat for only the second time in the last eight matches of the season.

The Pirates had earned a spot in the postseason for the eighth year in a row and after falling to Sumner a year prior, advanced to the quarterfinal round for the fourth time in five seasons.

PCHS was scheduled to travel to top seed Fort Kent Community High School on the afternoon of Oct. 24. The Warriors (11-1-2) and Pirates have no mutual opponents. Two years ago PCHS traveled to Fort Kent for a quarterfinal, and the home team won the second and 10th seed matchup by a score of 8-1.

Before any of the current players were in high school the two programs played in northern Aroostook County in a 2013 third and seventh seed semifinal, which Fort Kent won 6-1. In 2011 the Warriors traveled to Guilford for an 8-9 prelim with the visitors winning 5-0 to start a string of four matchups with PCHS and Fort Kent facing one another in odd numbered years.

No. 8 PCHS 2,
No. 9 Sumner 0
SUMN 0 0 | 0
PCHS 2 0 | 0
First half: P — Gilbert
P — Drew (Gilbert)
Corner kicks: P — 4,
S — 4.
Saves: P — Kimball 12,
S — Rumill 7.
Records: P — 8-6-1,
S — 9-5-1.

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
EARNING A TRIP TO FORT KENT — PCHS senior Dillon Drew and Sumner senior Brandon Grinnan chase down a loose ball in the left corner during the second half of a Class C North preliminary round game in Guilford on Oct. 21 between the eighth- and ninth-seeded teams. Dillon and classmate Bryce Gilbert each scored in the first half to help the Pirates win 2-0 and advance to a quarterfinal at top-seeded Fort Kent.

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
GETTING HIS TEAM STARTED — PCHS senior Bryce Gilbert would score the first of his team’s two goals in the opening half during a Class C North preliminary round game vs. Sumner on Oct. 21 in Guilford. The eighth-ranked Pirates won 2-0 to move on to the quarterfinals for the fourth time in five seasons, and PCHS will travel to top seed Fort Kent for the game.

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
HANGING OUT — Junior Noah Drew and Sumner sophomore Silas Goldfarb react on a header during the preliminary round game on Saturday afternoon. A year after Sumner won in the same round in Guilford, the Pirates got a measure of revenge with a 2-0 victory.

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
GOING THROUGH THE DEFENSE — Pirate freshman Kobe Gilbert only briefly lost his footing before getting around Sumner senior Josh Crocker.

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
USING HIS HANDS — PCHS senior Cameron Kane throws the ball in during the opening half on Oct. 21. A Kane corner kick led to the first goal for the Pirates.

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