BAR HARBOR, Maine — The Ellsworth and Mount Desert Island boys soccer teams battled through 30 minutes of a competitive Hancock County rivalry Tuesday evening.
Then the unbeaten Eagles opted to put on an offensive clinic at the Trojans’ expense.
Ellsworth scored four goals within an eight-minute span at the end of the first half and the start of the second half, then cruised to a 6-1 victory over MDI in the first of their two meetings of the season.
Six different players scored for coach Brian Higgins’ club, which is now 9-0-1 on the season and has outscored its opposition by a combined 52-5.
“We’re starting to get a lot stronger, we’re communicating better and everything’s starting to fall into place the way we need it,” said Ellsworth senior midfielder Zach Emeigh. “It’s coming together pretty well.”
Yet it took the Eagles some time to take control of this match, despite a goal by Bobby Box that gave Ellsworth a 1-0 lead 10:35 into the match.
That play began on Matt Duhaime’s corner kick out to Jacob Jordan on the 18-yard line. Jordan’s shot was blocked, but the deflection went to Box on the left side of the penalty area and he found a lane amid the MDI defense for a screened shot past MDI goalie Iz Ward.
But MDI (4-4) countered six minutes later when Ben Steel scored from close range on a shot that deflected off the foot of an Ellsworth defender and past Eagles’ goalie Jordan Carter.
Ellsworth took the lead for good with 6:50 left in the half, with four different players touching the ball during the scoring sequence.
Emeigh had the ball in the middle of the field some 25 yards away from the goal when he passed to his right to Kyle Haslam. Haslam quickly flicked the ball farther right to Jason Bean, and Bean directed the ball back toward the center of the field where Duhaime scored with a low shot through traffic to the left of Ward to give Ellsworth a 2-1 edge.
“After our second goal by Matt, that really fired us up,” said Emeigh. “After that we didn’t look back, we just kept going and going.”
Going and going, indeed, as goals by freshman Max Grover and Emeigh just 2:25 apart enabled Ellsworth to stretch its lead to 4-1 at halftime.
Grover’s goal was set up by an Emeigh free kick after MDI was whistled for a hand ball about 35 yards away from the goal. Emeigh’s kick went toward the right goal post, where initially no one gained control until Grover lofted a sharp-angled shot just under the cross bar with 4:53 left in the half.
Emeigh created his own scoring opportunity moments later, working the ball through the MDI defense into the left corner, losing control briefly but getting it back along the end line before stepping out just far enough to get an angle to shoot the ball just inside the left post.
“I tapped it out toward the 18 a little bit and then tucked it in before the goalie could get there,” said Emeigh. “I was actually quite shocked it went in.”
Any MDI comeback hopes vanished when Haslam scored barely a minute into the second half to make it 5-1.
Duhaime hit a corner kick from the left side beyond the far post to where Drew Barkhouse was able to get off a solid shot. Ward made the initial save, but the Haslam scored on the rebound.
“Our throw-ins and our corner kicks have been big for us,” said Ellsworth senior sweeper Brad Folmer. “When we get the ball down to the offensive end and it goes out of bounds, we’ve got Andrew [Austin] to throw it in for us or Matt to take corner kicks, and we usually score.”
Tyler Palmer capped off the scoring with 7:13 left on a no-look shot with the back of his foot from just beyond the right goal post as he and Ward battled for control of the ball.
Ellsworth outshot MDI 20-10, with Carter making seven saves for the Eagles and Ward and Connor Records combining for 10 stops for the Trojans.
JV: Ellsworth 3-1