Senior midfielder Matt Milliard found the back of the net three times and sophomore midfielder Michael Hunter added three assists to propel Caribou High School to a 6-0 victory over John Bapst Memorial High School in an Eastern Maine Class B boys soccer matchup Wednesday afternoon.
The Vikings (5-3-1) took advantage of their set pieces, with four of their goals coming from corners and a fifth coming via a free kick.
“We try to make a point of that all the time,” Caribou head coach Scott Hunter said of the Vikings’ success through the air. “One reason that we’re successful is because we have a kid named Matt Milliard. He has a nose for the ball, and he gets there and seems to want it more than anybody. The rest of the kids, I think, see that and feed off of him and his toughness.”
After the first 10 minutes went by without either team managing a shot on net, Hunter and Milliard connected on a corner. Milliard’s second marker came 14 minutes later, this time on a free kick from around the midfield line.
Senior defensive back Breen Blackstone launched a ball into the box where Milliard was waiting to put the Vikings up by two.
“[I] pretty much just made eye contact with him,” Milliard said of the second goal. “We always look for each other like that during the game and he put it in the right spot and I was able to get a head on it and put it in the back of the net.”
The best chance of the half for the Crusaders (2-5-1) came around the four-minute mark on a ball over the top that drew out Caribou senior goalkeeper Matthew Manter. However, play was halted after John Bapst sophomore forward A.J. Bustar was called for charging after colliding with Manter.
Manter made two saves to earn the shutout for Caribou, while Bach Nguyen managed six stops for the Crusaders. The Vikings finished with a 16-5 shot advantage, including a 12-2 edge in shots on goal.
“They played us tougher, they possessed the ball more,” John Bapst head coach Sean Smith said. “We were sleeping on defense — they scored five goals on resets. We have to get better.
“[Caribou] is a well-coached team, they’ve got a lot of big guys,” Smith continued. “I mean you see the difference in size. At one point we actually had six freshmen on the field at once.”
Hunter found senior forward Cody Herbert on another corner kick with a little more than two minutes remaining in the first half to give Caribou the 3-0 lead heading into intermission.
Milliard completed his hat trick four minutes into the second half on a half-volley from around the six-yard box, again resulting from a Hunter corner kick.
Senior forward Angus Ferguson almost found the back of the net for the Crusaders three minutes later on an indirect kick from just outside the box, but the shot hit the post instead of the twine and Manter preserved the shutout.
Herbert notched his second goal of the game on a throw-in that deflected off the ’keeper before crossing the goal line with eight minutes remaining. Senior forward Kameron Manter netted his team-leading 10th goal of the season less than 30 seconds later to cap the scoring.