ORONO, Maine — Despite having a decided edge in possession and scoring chances, the Orono High School girls soccer team had just a one-goal lead against rival Old Town in the second half Wednesday afternoon. And Old Town was starting to generate some scoring chances.
But sophomore striker Ali Pickering’s goal with 23 minutes remaining gave the Red Riots some valuable breathing room and they went on to post a 2-0 soccer victory over the goal-starved Coyotes.
Pickering scored her second goal in as many games when a long free kick into the penalty area bounced off teammate Becky Lopez-Anido and into her path.
Pickering ripped a rising shot from nine yards out over the head of Old Town goalkeeper Nicole Robichaud.
“It rolled right to me and I thought I had to shoot it right away,” said Pickering.
“That was a big goal. It was really well-finished [by Pickering],” said Orono coach Cid Dykjak.
Ju nior goalkeeper Vicki Goodwin preserved the shutout for the 4-0 Red Riots with 11 minutes remaining by holding the near post and absorbing Rachel Martin’s powerful right-footed shot in her midsection. Martin had broken free down the left wing.
“She made a nice save. She’s a good goalie,” said the speedy Martin. “I didn’t turn my body enough and it went right at the goalie. I definitely should have shot it with my left foot.”
A few minutes later, Goodwin also made a near-post save on a Brittany Cousins shot off a Caitlyn King pass that deflected over to her.
Junior midfielder Diana Tyutyunnyk had opened the scoring with 12:11 remaining in the first half when she ran on to Jordan Hernandez’s long ball down the right side of the penalty area and beat Robichaud with a powerful shot from 10 yards out.
“I ran down the right flank, cut to my left and shot it,” said Tyutyunnyk.
“I think it went over my head to the near-post side,” said Robichaud.
Robichaud kept her team within striking distance by making a number of quality saves.
Orono outshot 0-3 Old Town 20-5 in the first half and could have easily taken a three- or four-goal lead into the intermission.
Robichaud made a nice near-post save on freshman striker Lopez-Anido early in the game and rushed out to get her leg on Tyutyunnyk’s breakaway.
Lopez-Anido rang a shot off the underside of the crossbar and Brinsley Chasse’s long curling shot glanced off the top of the crossbar.
Lopez-Anido was a constant threat as she made a series of dashes down the right flank before serving dangerous crosses into the penalty area.
Old Town’s defenders blocked a bunch of Riot shots, as well.
Old Town, which has not scored this season, played better in the second half, generating 11 shots to Orono’s 13.
But fleet-footed senior back Ellie Kass anchored an efficient back line and Goodwin came up with some timely saves when she had to.
Goodwin finished with six saves on 16 shots while Robichaud wound up with seven stops on 33 shots.
Dyjak was pleased with his team’s performance.
“I really liked that we’re getting a better sense of passing the ball,” said Dyjak. “We played with a lot of composure which, for kind of a young team, is really surprising.
“We’re just fortunate to have some intelligent players,” added Dyjak. “I thought in the first half, we should have had a couple more goals.”
Dyjak added that senior central midfielder Hanna Renedo turned in an exemplary performance, as did Kass.
“We played very hard all the way through,” said Tyutyunnyk.
Old Town coach Charles Neely said his team played much better in the second half.
“We played with more composure and moved the ball much better. We had several chances but Goodwin made some very nice saves,” said Neely.
He moved sophomore King from outside back to center back in the second half and said “that made a difference for us.
“We had more composure after that. She played very well. She served some great free kicks and we just missed getting on the end of them,” said Neely.
Neely said his team has been battling illness and injuries all week and “we came out a little bit sluggish.
“We had only 10 kids at practice [some days] and that makes training difficult. But that’s not an excuse. You’ve got to play the game on the day you’re supposed to play. Orono is a very solid team year in and year out. Cid does a great job with them,” said Neely.