Pony boys top Waterville in prelim play
WATERVILLE — The Foxcroft Academy boys soccer team traveled to Thomas College to face Waterville High School in a Class B North preliminary game on the evening of Saturday, Oct. 26 in a 10-7 seed matchup.
The upset-minded Ponies came out strong by scoring just 48 seconds in thanks to forward Shadane Hamilton. He outraced a Waterville defender to the ball and he pushed it into the box, with his next touch he shot the ball low to the ground and away from the Purple Panthers keeper.
“Scoring that goal so early in the game I felt it gave us so much confidence that we could win,” Foxcroft head coach Luis Ayala said.
The Pony attacked continued when Michael Wang received a pass from Danny Cornett. Wang got by one defender and found himself one on one with the keeper. As the Purple Panther came out off the goal, Wang chipped it over the keeper’s head to give Foxcroft a 2-0 lead.
The Ponies continued to put the pressure as Jacob Reed stole the ball off a Waterville player and he found himself 25 yards out. He shot a long arching ball that just went under the crossbar and out of the reach of the jumping Waterville’s keeper, to now give Foxcroft a 3-0 lead going into halftime.
This type of lead is what every team looks for in a big game, especially a playoff game, but there was another half to play and the Ponies had to do it shorthanded. “We played a great half, but we had some injuries going into the second half,” Ayala said. “We lost starting forward Jahime Carghill and sweeper Lucas Ronco. Now we needed other players to step up.”
As the first half belonged to Foxcroft, the second half belonged to Waterville. Soccer is a game of momentum and the Purple Panthers got it back when the team scored nine minutes into the second half cut the lead 3-1.
“Give credit to their coaches and team for making some adjustments and never quitting. They played hard the second half,” Ayala said.
With 11 minutes to play Waterville struck again and were now within reach at 3-2. It seemed like Waterville would eventually get the equalizer but Foxcroft keeper Mikel Alvarez was not going to let that happen. He made save after save and just kept the Ponies lead even on the last seconds of the game.
With seconds to go Waterville received a direct kick 35 yards out. This was going to be Waterville’s last shot for a tie, as the ball sailed to the right of the goal a Waterville player redirected the ball with his head. The ball was now going to the left side of the goal and a diving Alvarez was able to catch it before it went in.
“We needed other people to step up and he did. That second half was just all about our keeper making incredible saves and giving us the victory,” Ayala said.
With a 3-2 victory No. 10 Foxcroft, now 8-7, will face No. 2 Winslow High School (11-2-1) in the regional quarterfinals. No. 7 Waterville ends the season at 7-8-0.