HERMON — The sixth-seeded Hermon Hawks relied on a strong second half and persevered on a slippery field to defeat the No. 11 Old Town Coyotes 3-2 in an Eastern Maine Class B boys soccer prelim Saturday.
“At halftime we talked about making sure we held our marks a little better than we did in the first half,” Hermon coach Scott Deabay said. “I thought that was a big key to our second-half defensive performance which allowed our offense to play better.”
Hermon will travel to Presque Isle on Wednesday to take on the third-seeded Wildcats in a quarterfinal.
Heavy rain pestered the teams and spectators for approximately 20 minutes of play in the first half. The field slowed down each team’s pace due to slick muddy conditions.
“It was a great game and both teams played very well,” Deabay said. “They did so in some really slippery conditions. It got worse as the game went on especially in the center of the field.”
Old Town coach Mark Graffam said it was played as a typical playoff game.
“We missed some opportunities and I think we may have overpassed a little bit and didn’t take some shots when we had opportunities and they cashed in on their opportunities,” he said.
Hermon received a strong effort by senior forward Kevin Frederick, who tallied two goals and dished out an assist for the Hawks.
“Kevin is good,” Graffam said. “It seems like he steps up his game when he plays against us, he is a good physical forward.”
Frederick found the ball on his foot often and converted.
“We saw that the slot was really what we need to attack,” Frederick said. “Regardless of the wet grass and mud we just had to shorten up our play and once we started doing that we started scoring.”
Sophomore Jacob Rioux contributed a goal for Hermon and senior Tyler Kelley had an assist.
Old Town junior striker Thorbin Trebing showed strong ball possession skills as he danced around defenders and buried two unassisted goals for the Coyotes, one in each half.
“We couldn’t slow him down,” Deabay said. “He had the step. He has good moves and it is very difficult for a defender to stop somebody who is very skilled. He’s a great kid and he played very well.”
After not being able to practice during the week, including Friday afternoon’s practice due to symptoms of mononucleosis, Hermon junior goalkeeper Brendon Dyer was cleared by the doctor to play in Saturday’s match and provided the Hawks with a strong performance.
Old Town started the game applying heavy pressure on the Hawks, forcing Dyer to make multiple tough saves in the first 10 minutes of play.
The teams remained tied with 12:00 left in the first half when Frederick played the ball into the box from the left corner. Rioux worked his way to the ball and chipped a lob shot underneath the cross bar that was just out of the reach of Old Town goalkeeper Scott Smart.
Trebing responded eight minutes later for the Coyotes as he ripped a shot from the center of the field 25 yards out that skimmed the ground as it flew past Dyer’s right side.
Play remained stuck in midfield with 25 minutes remaining in the second half when senior Tyler Kelly dribbled along the right side of the box and pushed a ball through the slot to Frederick who tapped it to the left of Smart.
Two minutes later Frederick scored again as he picked up his own shot which deflected off of a defender and buried an uncontested goal.
Old Town increased pressure and rallied late as Trebing started on the top right corner of the box and dribbled through two defenders and finished by tapping the ball past Dyer.
Hermon held off the Coyotes’ push as the time expired.
Dyer looked sharp for the Hawks as he made 16 saves on 21 shots for 8-5-2 Hermon. Smart played well for the 6-9 Coyotes as he made four saves on 16 shots.