LEWISTON, Maine — It took an overtime effort the last time the Lewiston boys soccer team played Lawrence.
The Blue Devils didn’t need those extra minutes Wednesday night.
Lewiston built an early lead in the first half and blanked the Bulldogs in a 2-0 win in their Eastern A quarterfinal. The Blue Devils advance to a semifinal rematch with Hampden on Saturday at 9:30 a.m.
“I’m very happy with our guys,” said Lewiston coach Mike McGraw. “We played hard. We can play better. I know we can play better, but we did what we had to do to win the game. I think we had some great chances had we been able to capitalize.”
Second-ranked Lewiston (12-1-2) got goals from Mohamed Ali and Abdi Shariff-Hassan to build the early lead. From there, the Blue Devils’ defense continued its stellar play.
It was the ninth shutout of the season for Lewiston, which has allowed just one goal in its past five games.
“Their defense really closed us down on offense,” said Lawrence coach Bob Towne. “They didn’t make any mistakes or anything serious.”
Tenth-seeded Lawrence (5-8-3) was held without a shot in the first half, and then could only muster three shots in the second half. The Bulldogs’ best scoring bid came when Lewiston keeper Eric Soucy had a clear attempt intercepted. It was put back toward an empty net, but Daud Idow was there to clear it.
“[Lucas] Schulze does a phenomenal job, and [Idow] is talking all the time,” said Towne. “He does a great job in the back.”
Lewiston beat Lawrence 2-1 in overtime early in the season. Both clubs have come a long way since then.
“The first time we played them [Idow], [Yusuf Yama] and [Abdullahi Shaleh] weren’t playing,” said McGraw. “We won that game in overtime, and that was a testament to the toughness our kids have.”
Lewiston outshot Lawrence 10-0 in the first half and got the first goal with 25:49 remaining in the half.
Ali got the ball on the right side and put a shot on net at the post. It hit a Bulldog defender and went in. Abdullahi Shaleh had the assist on the goal.
Then with 9:18 left in the half, Abdibaari Hersi sent a ball through the defense for Shariff-Hassan. He ran onto it for an open shot.
“They were good goals,” said McGraw. “That was perfect timing on them. The kids worked hard on them.”
It proved to be a deficit too great for the Bulldogs. Lawrence possessed the ball much more effectively in the second half but still couldn’t mount a comeback.
“Getting that first goal was key,” said Towne. “They had a little more pressure in the first half. I thought we did a little better in the second half as far as handling the pressure and moving the ball and creating some chances for ourselves.”