ORONO, Maine — When Dianna Tyutyunnyk is dribbling a soccer ball, she has the world at her feet. And that’s a good thing for the Orono High School girls soccer team.
She used some fancy footwork Friday to give second-seeded Orono a 1-0 victory over the No. 6 Calais Blue Devils in an Eastern Maine Class C girls soccer semifinal.
“She drives everybody crazy in practice, she dribbles so well,” said Red Riots coach Cid Dyjak.
As her coach, he likes to see it there.
“The ball at her feet is a very good place,” said Dyjak.
Second-seeded Orono will face No. 1 Fort Kent, a 1-0 winner over No. 4 Bucksport, in Wednesday’s Eastern Maine final at Fort Kent at 2 p.m.
Orono put a lot of pressure on the sixth-seeded Blue Devils early in the game, but the Riots couldn’t crack the Blue Devils until senior midfielder Analies Ross-Dyjak passed the ball to sophomore midfielder Tyutyunnyk with 25 minutes left in the half.
Ross-Dyjak, the coach’s daughter, moved the ball down the left side of the field before crisply passing to Tyutyunnyk in front of the Calais goal.
Tyutyunnyk dribbled around and away from several Calais defenders before booting a ball into the upper right corner. The ball glanced off the fingertips of junior goalkeeper Paige Gillespie before slipping under the crossbar.
“Dianna is wonderful at cutting the ball back,” said Dyjak of her ability to maneuver the ball.
Tyutyunnyk downplayed her goal.
“I tried my best, it paid off,” she said. “I was just trying to find space.”
Calais worked hard to get the equalizer, with much of the pressure coming from second-half rushes led by senior forward Meaghan Cavanaugh, junior forward Jamie Fein and sophomore midfielder Maddy McVicar.
But sophomore Orono ’keeper Vicki Goodwin and her backfield help, led by juniors Hannah Renedo and Ellie Kass and sophomore Ali Gonyar, kept the Blue Devils off the board.
“It was very frustrating to not get one and knowing you have the ability,” said Cavanaugh, the team captain.
“We knew Calais had a very good team,” said Renedo. “At the end it was a struggle, but we stayed together as a team and it paid off.”
Goodwin finished with seven saves on 13 shots for Orono (11-3-2), and Gillespie made nine saves on 17 shots for Calais (11-4-1).
“I think we were nervous at the beginning and had butterflies in our stomachs,” said Cavanaugh. “But we’ve been told all year, ‘don’t give up, go to the ball.’”
Calais coach John Braughton, whose Devils upset No. 3 Houlton in the quarterfinals, praised the Blue Devils’ attempt to come back.
“These girls worked their backsides off. … I can’t fault their effort,” he said.
Goodwin applied the final touches when she made two strong saves in the closing minutes.
The first came when a Fein shot hit the crossbar with four minutes to go. Fein got it back when the ball dropped straight down, but Goodwin smothered the second try and held on.
With a minute left, sophomore midfielder Emily MacKay drilled a shot from 25 yards that was headed for the upper right corner, but Goodwin stopped the shot and grabbed the ball as it fell.
“A bounce here, a bounce there and it would have been a different story,” said Braughton.
Orono had numerous opportunities, also, but Gillespie was up to the task.
Junior striker Courtney King passed to Ross-Dyjak with 26:50 left in the game. Ross-Dyjak tapped it to the left, but it was grabbed by Gillespie.
A minute later Tyutyunnyk raced down the right side on the dribble and cut toward the goal, but her close-in shot was stuffed by Gillespie, who then dropped on the loose ball.
“This was a team effort,” said Tyutyunnyk. “It’s amazing. We all get along, we’re one big family.”