ORONO, Maine — Brooklynne White said she and her Orono High School teammates wanted to get off to a fast start in Wednesday’s Class C North soccer game against Bucksport, especially with Saturday’s showdown against Houlton looming.
The Red Riots did just that.
Sophomore striker Izzy Baker scored two of her three goals in the game’s first 7:35 and the Red Riots never looked back, building a four-goal halftime lead en route to a solid 5-1 victory.
Orono (7-1) extended its winning streak to four games heading into the home game against the Shiretowners, the only team that has beaten the Red Riots this season (3-2 on Sept. 9).
Baker had an assist to go with her three goals; senior midfielder Becca Gallandt collected a goal and two assists and Lauren Melanson had the other goal. White and Anna Ferguson each had an assist and Maggie Coutts finished with four saves on nine shots.
Bucksport (5-4) received its goal from Maggie Bires off a Darian Jellison cross and senior goalie Kaylee Knowles made nine saves on 24 shots.
“Before the game, we talked about setting the tone in the first half,” said White, a junior midfielder who set up the game-opening goal by Baker just 3:08 into the contest.
White intercepted a Bucksport clearing attempt just outside the penalty box and spied the unmarked Baker to her right.
Baker broke in alone on Bucksport senior goalkeeper Kaylee Knowles and she tucked the ball to the right of Knowles from 12 yards out.
Moments later, Baker expanded the lead when Gallandt sent a low cross through the goalmouth and she calmly directed it into the near-side corner with the inside of her right foot.
“Those (early) goals gave us momentum,” said Gallandt.
Gallandt was again the provider on Melanson’s goal with 24:32 left in the half as the open Melanson directed a glancing header inside the far post off Gallandt’s well-placed corner kick.
“That’s the second time that has happened,” said Gallandt, whose two previous kicks also supplied the Riots with glittering scoring chances.
The Red Riots continued to have the lion’s share of possession and Baker finished off her hat trick with 19:30 left in the half.
Talented freshman Brynn Kenney whipped the ball across the goalmouth to the far side where Ferguson tracked it down. Ferguson found Baker running toward the near post and neatly slipped the ball into her path and Baker stabbed it inside the near post.
“I just tried to get my foot in front of the defender so I could tap it in the goal,” said Baker.
The Bucks played much better in the second half but Gallandt made it 5-0 with 26:51 left when Baker passed it to her at the top of the penalty area and Gallandt curled a perfectly-placed, left-footed shot into the top corner to Knowles’ right.
Bires ruined Coutts’ shutout bid when she buried an authoritative half-volley off Jellison’s precise cross.
“The girls were very indecisive in the first half. They were much more committed in the second half. It was an embarrassing first half and I said that to them. The stepped up, accepted the challenge and played hard in the second half,” said Bucksport coach Michael Garcelon.
White, Gallandt and Norwegian exchange student Mille Baartuedt controlled the midfield for Orono and the back line of Leah Ruck, Melanson, Jenna Gaetjen and Isabel Henderson was stellar.
Midfielder Jellison, striker Cassy Coombs and Knowles turned in strong performances for the Golden Bucks.