BLUE HILL, Maine — After scoring 46 goals in its first eight matches, the Washington Academy of East Machias boys soccer team was unable to finish off its plays for much of Saturday’s Class C match against George Stevens Academy.
But finally the Raiders erupted, scoring four goals in the final 18:02 of the second half as the defending state champions rallied for a 4-1 victory.
The win was the 26th straight for coach Chris Gardner’s club since a loss to Woodland to open the 2008 season.
WA (9-0) controlled play for much of the first half, but George Stevens scored the only goal of the period off a restart with 14:41 remaining.
Jesus Henares launched a direct kick toward goal from about 35 yards out, and while WA goalie Bryce Colbeth got both hands on the ball just under the crossbar, he couldn’t gain control.
The ball dropped toward the right goalpost where Ben Phlor headed it and teammate Michael Senter-Zapata then chested it over the goal line to leave WA trailing for only the second time this season.
WA finally scored the equalizer off a corner kick midway through the second half. Nick Forte left-footed a high corner kick from the right side toward the goal crease, where teammate Ben Teer then skimmed a header toward the far post.
That’s where teammate Noah Von Rotz had run for a header of his own just inside the post to forge a 1-1 tie with 18:02 to play.
An identical corner kick from Forte set up the go-ahead goal off a header from the crease by Teer with 8:10 left, the first of three WA goals within a 3 minute, 57 second span.
Von Rotz netted his second goal of the match with 4:56 left thanks to some solid set-up work by Roman Richards and Li Yizhou.
Richards’ defensive pressure against a GSA rival forced a loose ball that he tracked down in the left corner. Richards passed to Yizhou, who gave the ball back to Richards near the left end line for a centering pass that Von Rotz headed inside the far post.
Teer added his second goal of the match 43 seconds later on an assist from Nick Hixson.
Washington Academy outshot George Stevens 30-10, with Colbeth making three saves to preserve the victory and Ben Olivari making 10 stops for 3-4 GSA.