ELLSWORTH, Maine — There’s been no easing into the 2008 schoolboy soccer season for Ellsworth High School.
The Eagles opened with perhaps the toughest two teams on their schedule, but after Wednesday evening’s 4-2 victory over John Bapst of Bangor at Del Luce Stadium its seems the defending Eastern Maine Class B champions have merely picked up where they left off.
Junior striker Zach Emeigh, who scored with eight minutes left in the Eagles’ season opener against Presque Isle on Saturday to help rally Ellsworth to a 2-2 tie, scored three goals against John Bapst.
“Zach Emeigh has come into his own,” said Ellsworth coach Brian Higgins. “He’s been a starter since his freshman year, and we’ve asked him to take on more of a role as a scorer now.”
Two of Emeigh’s came in the first half as Ellsworth built a 3-1 lead.
“We were pretty excited because Bapst is some of the best competition we face,” said Emeigh. “We knew we had to play harder because they’re one of our biggest rivals and we knew that they wanted it.”
Senior Adam Kaspala scored Ellsworth’s other goal, while sophomore goalkeeper Jordan Carter made seven saves to earn his first varsity victory.
“I thought their keeper played well,” said John Bapst coach Andy Frace, “because we had a couple of golden opportunities and he stepped up big. I was impressed by him for being such a young kid.”
Ellsworth capitalized on a pair of restarts to take an early 2-0 lead.
Kaspala scored 4:18 into the match off a corner kick from freshman Kyle Haslam. Haslam’s kick went high into the goal crease, where Emeigh headed the ball toward the net. John Bapst goalie Ryan Carr blocked the ball, but the rebound caromed toward the left goalpost from where Kaspala scored into an open net.
The Eagles made it 2-0 with 23:51 left in the opening half. Matt Duhaime lofted a quick restart from the defensive left wing ahead to Emeigh, who dribbled the ball downfield and made one defender go past him before directing a low shot just inside the left goalpost.
“We’re pretty good on quick counterattacks and restarts,” said Emeigh.
John Bapst (0-1-1) closed within 2-1 three minutes later when Max Cutri scored on the rebound of a low blast by Jor-dan Myers that Carter blocked but could not control.
“Getting ahead I thought was huge,” said Higgins, “because with Jordan Myers in the game, no lead is safe until the game is over.”
Emeigh got that goal back off a rebound with 16:40 left until intermission.
“They got the jump on us in the first half,” said Frace. “They put three on us very quickly. The second half I thought we played them pretty even. We adjusted, and the adjustment helped, but we’ve got to play 80 minutes.”
Emeigh completed his hat trick with 24 minutes left in the match, receiving a long clearing pass from sweeper Brad Folmer beyond midfield, dribbling to his left and lining a low shot past Bapst second-half goalie Casey Hull to give Ellsworth a 4-1 lead.
Myers set up Bapst’s final goal nine minutes later with a direct kick from near midfield that got loose in the goal crease and eventually ended up on the foot of Kody Allcroft, who scored from close range.
Hall and Carr combined to make 13 saves for John Bapst.