ORONO — Creating scoring opportunities has not been a problem for the Hermon boys soccer team so far this season.
Converting those threats into actual goals has been a bit more problematic.
The Hawks generated just two goals Wednesday afternoon on 31 shots — including a missed penalty kick — but that was enough to secure a 2-0 victory over Orono in a Penobscot Valley Conference contest.
“As a team we actually played well,” said Hermon senior striker Kevin Frederick. “We passed really well, we got a lot of shots on goal, we just need to work on finishing.
“That’s how it’s been all season, tons and tons of shots and not very many going in.”
Junior Alex Pelletier scored for Hermon barely four minutes into the contest, converting on the rebound of a shot by Frederick that was blocked by Orono goalkeeper Conor McKaig.
Sophomore Darius Ntacyo provided the Hawks some insurance with 26:15 left in the match, taking a short pass from Tyler Kelley and kicking a low shot inside the left goalpost.
“We’re getting closer,” said Hermon coach Scott Deabay, whose team is 3-2-1 after scoring its third consecutive victory. “Early in the season we were shooting way high and way wide, and now we’re starting to shrink that margin down.
“It’s all about confidence with these guys. They have the skill, it’s just a matter of hitting it right and believing in themselves. When we start hitting them, I pity the team that we face because we’re going to be pretty strong.”
Class C Orono, which battled Class B Hermon to a 1-1 tie when the teams opened the season against each other on Sept. 2, reached the midpoint of its regular-season schedule with a 3-3-1 record after having its modest two-match winning streak halted.
“Today was just not our day,” said Red Riots’ coach Waldo Caballero. “For some reason we didn’t trap the ball, we didn’t control the ball, we didn’t make the passes that we know to do. Mentally, we were not there.”
Orono did generate some scoring chances, particularly midfielder Miguel Caballero, whose header from close range with 16 minutes left in the first half required a big save by Hermon goalie Brandon Dyer.
Teammate Mathew Cloutier threatened moments later, taking a pass from Daniel Perry and launching a bid that was blocked by Dyer.
Dyer, Hermon’s third starting goalie already this season — the first two both are recovering from broken fingers — preserved the shutout with six saves behind a rebuilt defense anchored by senior sweeper Braddock Deabay that was minus regular starters David Goodness and Dylan Smith for medical reasons.
“We kept somebody on (Caballero) for most of the game, we made him a focal point,” said coach Deabay. “No. 7 (Cloutier) was very quick for them as well, so we made sure we shadowed them when they got the ball.
“Our defense is just starting to jell, and for having two starters out I thought we did really, really well today.”
McKaig made 13 saves in goal for Orono.