THORNDIKE, Maine — The Mount View boys soccer team experienced significant graduation losses after a 2011 season in which it advanced to the Eastern Maine Class B semifinals.
But a blend of returning players both young and old, as well as the addition of a talented senior exchange student from Italy, have the Mustangs feeling optimistic at the outset of a new season.
And they have a 2-0 record to show for it after Lorenzo Milani scored a goal in the first three minutes of each half to propel Mount View to a 4-2 victory over Medomak Valley of Waldoboro in a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B match Wednesday afternoon.
John Piotti added a goal and an assist for the winners, while James Philbrick also scored and Jack Simpson contributed an assist as the Mustangs built a 4-0 lead early in the second half.
“We came out playing hard and it paid off with a quick goal in the first half and a quick goal in the second half,” said Mount View coach Chris Hink, whose team had to score twice in the final five minutes Friday to edge Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield 2-1.
“Then depth-wise we started wearing down, but we persevered with a lot of heart, so I was proud of the boys.”
Freshman Zach Starr had a second-half goal and an assist for 0-2 Medomak Valley, while Jonathan Hendrickson-Belloguet had a goal and Patrick Madden added an assist.
Freshman Mikey Hustus made nine saves on 19 shots in goal for Mount View. Ryan Ripley made nine saves on 28 shots for Medomak Valley.
Milani, a rugged striker who joined the Mount View program during preseason, proved to be difficult for Medomak Valley to check defensively, whether he was creating his own opportunities or setting up teammates.
“He’s a physical presence,” said Hink. “It helps us in terms of opening up the field for others because our other players have skill offensively. I think the kids also feed off his energy.”
Milani scored on the game’s first shot after gaining possession via a Medomak Valley turnover near midfield. He dribbled along the left wing, then patiently worked his way around the defense before grounding a shot inside the far post just 87 seconds into the match.
Mount View then broke the game open with two goals during a 48-second span.
Piotti scored on the rebound of a shot by Simpson, who had been sent toward the goal by a Travis Diemer lead pass. Ripley made the initial save, but Piotti beat the defense to the rebound and scored from close range to make it 2-0 with 26:32 left in the period.
Philbrick, one of six Mount View seniors, soon made it 3-0 when he took a pass from Piotti, spun past two defenders and scored from about 15 yards out with a hard-hit shot inside the left post.
“I think everyone realized that they didn’t come out to play last time,” said Hink of his team’s fast start. “They kind of took MCI for granted and when you do that teams can gain confidence against you and that makes them even tougher to come back against.
“We worked on the things that hurt us in that game and we executed those better today. We were winning 50-50 balls, not letting the ball bounce, playing to feet and just moving quicker and anticipating.”
Mount View added an important insurance goal with 37:05 left in the second half on Miliani’s direct kick from about 25 yards out. Milani curled the ball around the Medomak Valley defensive wall and just beyond Ripley’s reach to give the Mustangs a 4-0 cushion.
But Medomak Valley continued to compete and attempted a comeback.
First, Starr took a crossing pass from Madden just ahead of the defense and scored from close range to get the Panthers on the scoreboard with 20:20 left.
Moments later, Starr gained possession in the offensive end but could not get off a good shot. Instead, he spotted Hendrickson-Belloguet just to his left and slipped the senior co-captain a short lead pass that he blasted just under the middle of the crossbar to draw Medomak Valley within 4-2 with 19:09 left.
“We talked at halftime and said, ‘Let’s reset, let’s play the type of game we know we can play by doing the simple things like winning the 50-50 balls, being aggressive, working with each other and communicating,’” said Medomak Valley coach Brian Campbell. “We really lacked that in the first half. We came out flat, had a couple of breakdowns and gave up a couple of goals that we’d like to have back.”