ORONO, Maine — After reaching the Eastern Maine Class C semifinals a year ago, the Orono boys soccer team is poised for another strong postseason run in 2009.
But the Red Riots say the key to achieving that goal is not looking ahead to late October, but merely concentrating on the present — which they did impressively Tuesday afternoon with a 4-0 victory over Penquis of Milo.
“I thought we played a really good game today,” said Charlie Boyle, one of 10 seniors on the Orono roster, “but the most important thing is that we haven’t won anything yet.”
Senior midfielder Paul Ohno scored twice and Boyle and Miguel Caballero each scored once as coach Larry Berthiaume’s club improved its record to 4-0.
For Penquis, which also entered the match at 3-0, the loss served as a measuring stick of sorts.
“We knew what they were coming in,” said Penquis coach Jason Mills. “They didn’t show us anything that surprised us, but we’re just not quite ready for them yet.
“Some of our inexperience showed and we lost our composure at times, but the key was we had some chances early and didn’t convert.”
The Patriots did have their best scoring bids early in the match, particularly when Alex Drummond was sent in alone on Orono goalie A.J. Coleman but couldn’t get off a good shot.
Orono soon proved more effective at using the entire field and gradually gained control of the match — getting the only goal it needed from Boyle with 15:31 left in the opening half.
The play began with a throw-in from deep on the left wing by Nick Peterson into the goal crease, where Nikolai Renedo skimmed a header toward the far post but right to Boyle, who headed the ball into the net.
The Red Riots extended their lead to 2-0 before halftime on another restart, as Ohno scored on the rebound after Russell was unsuccessful in attempting to punch away a corner kick by Peterson to the goal crease.
Ohno scored on a similar loose-ball scenario 10:59 into the second half. Renedo fed the ball from the center of the field to teammate Sean Kilpatrick on the right wing, and Kilpatrick then crossed the ball toward the goal crease. Renedo was unable to get off a clean shot against Penquis goalie Richie Russell, but Ohno was near the goal line to score into an open net in the ensuing action.
Caballero was in the right place at the right time for the Red Riots’ final goal, as a Penquis header off a restart near midfield sailed toward the Patriots’ goal, leaving the Orono sophomore forward to race in from the right wing to score from close range.
“We’re getting more and more team chemistry every time we play,” Ohno said, “and we want that to continue for the rest of the year.
“We just need to keep working on playing as a team, and remain focused every game.”
Orono finished with a 25-6 advantage in shots, with Coleman making three serves to preserve the shutout while Richie Russell made nine saves and Bryan Russell made three stops for Penquis.
“They were the better team today and we need to learn from this and regroup,” said Mills. “The bottom line is we’re still 3-1, and now we’ve got to get ready for our next game. We’ve got a stretch of our next five games at home, and we need to take care of business.”