ORONO, Maine — It was a regular-season game that had postseason flair to it.
The Orono and Old Town girls soccer teams played with extreme intensity and were so evenly matched that a winner could not be decided Monday afternoon. The Red Riots and Coyotes battled to a 2-2 double-overtime tie at the Orono High field.
“It was a hard-fought game for both teams. Both of us were exhausted by the end, it was great,” said Orono senior striker Chloe Paul, who scored a second-half goal for coach Cid Dyjak’s defending Eastern Maine Class C champion Red Riots, now 9-2-1.
Even though the Red Riots controlled possession for the most part in the first half, it was Old Town (8-2-2) that got on the board first. Katie Deshane scored on a breakaway with 4:59 remaining to give coach Chuck Neely’s club a 1-0 lead.
But the Red Riots, who pass to feet and control the ball as well as anyone in Eastern Maine, scored the next two goals in the second half to assume the lead.
With three minutes gone, Alex Crocker sent a high cross from the right corner to an unmarked Meghan Curtis, who one-touched the pass home.
Paul put Orono ahead just under 10 minutes later, as Curtis outmaneuvered her defender with some nifty dribbling, and Paul one-touched Curtis’ pass home.
The Coyotes came back to tie it with 5:09 to play, as Sabrina Jordan hit a booming shot from the right side of the penalty area that hit the top of the crossbar and came down across the goal line.
The Riots quickly cleared the ball out at first, thinking the ball didn’t cross, but the officials quickly huddled and deemed the ball had crossed the plane.
“That’s the benefit of having three officials,” Neely said. “Two officials, you don’t know if that’s missed or not. Just a great shot from outside the box by Sabrina Jordan.”
Ashley Abbott of Old Town and Orono’s Elizabeth Fox played outstanding in goal from there, both coming up with some spectacular saves to preserve the tie. Riots fullback Laura Triandafillou thwarted a Deshane opportunity late in regulation, clearing a shot away from a wide-open left side of the net.
“We knew Katie Deshane was going to be tough, and when Katie had an opportunity to cross it, Laura just had a great ball,” Paul said.
Orono had a chance to win it early in the first overtime, as Crocker pounced on a loose ball in the penalty area and sent it toward the far post, but Abbott made a diving stop.
“Great saves,” Paul said. “Elizabeth had amazing ones and Ashley Abbott had great ones as well.”
Fox had six saves on 15 shots for Orono while Abbott came up with eight stops on 17 shots for Old Town.
Riots back Rachel Balaban did a solid job of keeping the quick Deshane marked while Old Town sweeper Micayla Hussey helped keep Orono’s passing game in check, but the Riots did find space to shoot on a few occasions.
“We did have a lot of balls into space, especially in the beginning, but where we were so tired in the overtime was when we had to play more to feet and I think we did,” said Paul.
Both coaches felt that this game will prepare their respective teams well for the postseason, which kicks off next week.
“You want to watch some fun soccer, come watch Old Town-Orono girls,” said Neely.
“I thought the intensity was like a playoff game. It was certainly enjoyable to watch, hopefully people appreciated the effort that kids on both teams gave,” Dyjak added.