ORONO, Maine — After a frustrating first half in which acrobatic junior goalie Richie Russell kept his Penquis High School team within 1-0, the Orono High School Red Riots parlayed their dominance into seven second-half goals and cruised to an 8-0 soccer victory.
Orono is 1-1 while Penquis of Milo was playing its opener.
Junior midfielder-striker Gracen Malave scored three goals and assisted on two to pace Orono, which had 44 shots at goal to Penquis’ eight.
Senior striker Brandon Paul had a pair of goals and an assist and junior midfielder Paul Ohno had a goal and two assists with Nick Dimoulas and Lee Hecker scoring the other goals.
The diminutive Ohno controlled the midfield with his quickness and exceptional dribbling skills. Ohno, fellow midfielders Malave, Hecker and Dan Lesser and strikers Paul and Dimoulas put constant pressure on Penquis’ defense.
“Paul Ohno was the biggest difference in the game,” said Orono coach Larry Berthiaume.
“They couldn’t keep up with our athleticism,” said senior Hecker. “Their goalie played great. He came up big time after time.”
Paul scored the only goal in the first half as Russell made 10 saves on 20 shots including several gems. He finished with 21 saves.
“I just tried to work as hard as I could,” said Russell.
Dimoulas made it 2-0 11:30 into the second half and Paul triggered a six-goal flurry over the final 21:30.
“That third goal deflated us. We ran out of gas.
That’s what you get when you play defense the whole time,” said Penquis coach Jason Mills. “We didn’t get anything out of our midfield or front line players. The goalie and defense played well.
“Orono pressures the ball really well and they’re a good team,” added Mills.
Paul opened the scoring with 15:37 left in the first half.
Ohno crossed the ball from the left flank and Nikolai Renedo made a near post.
“Nikolai put his head on it and it squirted over to me [at the far post],” said Paul. “It was a beautiful cross by [Ohno] and I happened to be there at the right time and put it away.”
The Patriots had a golden opportunity to strike first when Orono goalie Phil Holmes rushed out of his penalty area to clear a ball, but it went to Penquis’ Alex Drummond.
However, Drummond couldn’t get much on his shot from midfield and Holmes was able to scramble back and snare it over his shoulder.
Dimoulas gave the Riots some breathing room in the second half off a rebound after Russell made a left hand save on Malave’s angled shot.
Paul made it 3-0 off a give-and-go with Renedo.
Paul accepted the return pass, broke through the defense and slotted the ball inside the far post.
“Coach [Berthiaume] told us to shoot low, far post,”
Holmes and A.J. Coleman combined for four saves.