OLD TOWN — One of the trademarks of Brian Higgins’ Ellsworth High School soccer teams has been its ability to score off set pieces (corner kicks, free kicks and throw-ins).
Uncharacteristically, the Eagles hadn’t scored on a set piece in their first two games but that changed on Monday.
Senior striker Nick Holt scored off a throw-in and sophomore midfielders Jake Hale and Ben Haslam converted corner kicks as the Eagles posted an impressive 5-1 victory over Old Town in a rematch of last year’s Eastern Maine Class B semifinal won by Ellsworth 3-0.
“This was the best we’ve played this year,” said Higgins, whose Eagles improved to 3-0. “We hadn’t scored on a set piece (and we scored twice). And we attacked the outside the best we have this year.”
Holt also had an assist to go with his goal.
Kyle Haslam opened the scoring for Ellsworth with 21:39 remaining in the first half before Holt (10:08) and Josh Bean (2:58) extended the lead to 3-0 before the intermission.
Hale made it 4-0 with 24:41 left before Old Town’s Matt Melanson scored with 12:31 later.
Ben Haslam, Kyle’s brother, capped the scoring.
Bean had a pair of assists off his corner kicks to go with his goal.
Ellsworth had a significant edge in possession against the hard-working Coyotes.
Logan Dyer set up the opening goal when he intercepted a goal kick and fed it through to the streaking Kyle Haslam.
“I saw that the goalie (Andrew Richardson) was going to try to pass it to his defender so I stepped in front and then passed it to Kyle. I knew he’d finish,” said Dyer.
“I threaded it to the far side (to Richardson’s right),” said Haslam, who broke in alone on Richardson.
Riley Dewitt’s long one-hop throw-in landed right on Holt’s foot and he side-volleyed it into the near-side corner from 10 yards out.
“I tried to hit it as hard as I could. I didn’t aim it,” said Holt.
Bean and Holt worked a nifty give-and-go resulting in the third goal.
Bean’s hard, low corner resulted in Hale’s goal.
Melanson scored the first goal of the season allowed by Ellsworth when he chased down a David Wilcox pass in the right corner and sailed a perfectly-placed cross that glanced in off the hand of Eagle backup goalkeeper Steve Mahon.
Ben Haslam scored through a posse of legs off a scramble created by Bean’s corner.
OId Town coach Mark Graffam said he was pleased with his team’s effort.
“You’re always disappointed when you lose but we never quit and we were able to get a goal on them,” said Graffam, whose team is now 2-2. “We have a young team. We lost 11 seniors. And we lost to a very good team. Ellsworth is always well-skilled and they execute the game plan.”
Graffam praised senior midfielder Wilcox for his play and junior midfielder Thorbin Trebing created some scoring chances with his nifty ball skills.
Higgins singled out marking back Ben Curtis for his efficiency.
Tom Sawyer and Mahon combined for five saves on 13 shots while Richardson and Jameson Ploch teamed up for eight saves on 27 shots.