THORNDIKE — The Mount View High School boys soccer team is retooling after an 11-member senior class carried its 2009 edition all the way to the Eastern Maine Class B final.
With just three returning starters and four seniors on their 20-player roster this fall the Mustangs are much younger, but the potential for rapid improvement seems in place if Tuesday’s 3-0 victory over Maine Central Institute is any indication.
“The biggest thing is that they just need experience on the field because they’re not used to playing full games,” said Mount View coach Chris Hink. “They were great subs last year, and it’s a matter of finding themselves now and finding the right positions for them because they’re very skilled.
“Today they had good ball movement, and they used each other well. They trusted in each other and made the quick and easy pass instead of trying to beat people with their runs and dribbles, and they saved their energy by doing so.”
One player in the right place against MCI was Aaron Elkins, who scored all three goals in the match. A top scorer at the junior varsity level last fall as well as a varsity reserve, the Mount View junior scored once before intermission and twice in the second half to propel the Mustangs to their first victory of the season.
“He was due,” said Hink. “That’s the best game I’ve seen him play. He’s always had it in him, it’s just whether he decided to do it or not and today he decided to do it. It was fun to watch.”
Elkins was a focal point of a Mount View front line and midfield that took pressure off its defense by maintaining ball control for most of the match, with seniors Zach Mehuren and Alec Davis also playing key roles as the Mustangs generated 25 shots on MCI goalie Matthew Lessard, who made six saves.
Junior goalie Chris Montimomy was required to make just four saves on 11 MCI shots to preserve the shutout for Mount View, which was coming off a season-opening 2-1 loss to Belfast.
“The biggest difference was the intensity level,” said Hink. “They came out and wanted it from the get-go instead of waiting. The last game we waited until the second half before we picked up the intensity, and when you play good teams like Belfast, it’s almost too late. You’ve got to come out and play your minutes, period, and that’s what this group is learning, that they’ve got to play 80 minutes.”
Elkins gave Mount View a 1-0 lead with 7:08 left in the first half when he one-timed the ball into the net from a sharp angle at the left post after it was served from deep along the right wing through the goal crease.
“They played it over the top and it went through most of their team and I got it at the end and hit it with my left foot and hoped it went in,” said Elkins.
MCI, also 1-1, had its best scoring chance early in the second half. Jesse Seo Myeong Weon grounded a short lead pass in the middle of the field to Brandon Blaisdell, sending Blaisdell in alone on Montimony. Blaisdell blasted a waist-high shot, but Montimony was able to catch the ball out of the air for his toughest save of the match.
Elkins made it 2-0 midway through the final period by rocketing a 20-yarder from the center of the field into the upper right corner of the net.
“Zach Mehuren got a ball and placed it square to me and I hit a shot from outside the 18,” said Elkins. “It was a nice shot and went in.”
Elkins completed his hat trick on a penalty kick with 53 seconds left after James Philbrick directed a corner kick into the center of the penalty area to Mehuren, whose subsequent shot was prevented from going into the net when it was slapped away by MCI for an intentional hand ball.