HERMON, Maine — Hermon High School senior midfielder-striker Kaitlin Saulter showed why she was an All-New England selection and the Penobscot Valley Class B Player of the Year last season on Saturday afternoon.
Saulter set up first-half goals just 54 seconds apart by her freshman sister Brianna and junior midfielder Claire Petersen and then scored three second-half goals as the defending Eastern Maine B soccer champs beat a good Caribou team 5-0 at Pottle Field.
Hermon had a decided edge in possession and the tenacious Hawks were a step quicker than the Vikings which enabled them to win a lot of loose balls and pressure Caribou into turnovers.
Hermon had a 31-9 edge in shots at goal and the Vikings had no answer for the dynamic and omnipresent Kaitlin Saulter, a 29-goal scorer a year ago.
“Who does (have an answer for Saulter)?,” said Caribou coach Todd Albert. “But if you just focus on her, somebody else will beat you.
Caribou, how 2-1, did occasionally generate some good chances only to come up empty against a 3-0 Hermon team that hasn’t allowed a goal this season.
Both teams had glittering scoring chances early, especially Hermon, and the Hawks were finally rewarded for their dominance with 11:02 left in the half.
Brianna Saulter, located near the top of the penalty area, accepted her sister’s pass from the left wing, made a quick turn to her right and sailed a 16-yard shot back against the grain into the corner to the right of Caribou goalkeeper Morgan Outing.
“There was a defender near me but I shot it before they got on me. I was trying to shoot it there (to Outing’s right),” said Brianna Saulter.
“Bri’s goal motivated us and we got another right after,” said Kaitlin Saulter who, seconds later, again worked herself free on the left wing and put a cross to the top of the penalty area where Petersen ran on to it and beat Outing with a powerful half-volley.
“It was a great cross by Kaitlin. It took a hop on the ground and I hit it,” said Petersen.
Caribou had a golden opportunity to cut into the lead in the last minute of the half when Bria Judd’s shot deflected over to an unattended Madison Doody on the left hand side, 10 yards from goal. But Doody, normally a fullback who was filling in up front for the injured Eileen Patton, wasn’t able to get a lot on the nine-yard shot and Hermon goalie Bryanne Crouse was able to make a comfortable save.
Saulter wasted little time extending the lead in the second half.
Just 1:33 into the second half, Mollie Roy served a low diagonal ball into the middle of the penalty area and Saulter, slicing left to right, was able to beat the oncoming Outing to the ball before touching it around her and depositing it into the vacated net.
“I think there was a miscommunication. The goalie said she had it so the defender let it go through and I was able to capitalize,” said Saulter.
“I told them the first five minutes of the second half were going to be important. (Hermon) scored a minute and a half in and got the momentum,” said Albert.
Saulter used her exceptional speed to make it 4-0 9:07 later when she ran onto sister Brianna’s long through ball just over midfield, broke in alone and tucked the ball to Outing’s right.
She capped her hat trick 1:10 later by taking a pass from Petersen and ripping a low, hard shot that glanced into the net off Outing’s hands and body for her fifth goal of the season.
“She’s a really great player,” said Caribou senior back Sammy Camy, one of Caribou’s captains.
Crouse finished with three saves on nine shots and the Hawk defensive effort was led by senior back Maddie Page. Outing wound up with seven stops on 31 shots.
Albert said his team needed to play better.
“We made some mistakes and they made us pay,” said Albert who felt his team had to possess the ball better.
But he also gave credit to Hermon, saying, “they’re the best team we’re going to play.
“This was our first real test and there’s obviously some things we need to improve on,” he said.