ORONO, Maine — After a tough setback to Central of Corinth Wednesday, the Orono girls soccer team took its frustrations out on Penquis of Milo on Friday afternoon.
Seniors Chloe Paul and Meghan Curtis each recorded hat tricks and the Red Riots controlled play from start to finish on both ends of the field in a 6-0 victory.
Curtis set the tone for coach Cid Dyjak’s club 4:55 into the match, as the unmarked midfielder headed a perfect Analies Dyjak corner kick into a wide-open left side of the net to give the hosts a 1-0 lead.
Unlike Wednesday, the Riots found offensive rhythm early and often, using its pinpoint passing game to keep the ball on the ground and control possession.
“The other day was a bit of a struggle but today was a bit of a confidence booster,” said Paul.
Paul’s first goal was assisted by Curtis, who sent a perfect through-ball to Paul, and Paul shot it inside the left goalpost at the 26:30 mark of the first half.
Curtis registered her second goal on a long, arching shot from the right side of the penalty area three minutes later, while Alex Crocker set up Paul with 21:36 left.
Dyjak — the coach’s daughter — and Curtis would hook up again at the 14:34 mark, this time on a free kick, while Paul capped the scoring with an unassisted tally 2:13 into the second half.
“I think what I liked about today was a lot of people contributed [in different ways] and that’s always good for team chemistry,” said Cid Dyjak, whose top-ranked club improved to 8-2.
Penquis dips to 2-6-2.
Stressing defense first, the Riots used a 4-5-1 (four defenders, five midfielders, one striker) alignment, and Orono’s back line did a solid job of keeping the Patriots away from the penalty area.
The Riots also controlled the midfield with sound precision and won virtually every 50-50 ball.
“We wanted to have a stronger midfield to get the ball up more and [have] stronger passes, which we did really well today,” said Crocker.
At times, Penquis tried to keep the ball in the air and get the Riots out of their possession game, but Orono’s midfielders and forwards were simply too quick.
“When we play it on the ground we play way better,” Curtis said.
And it can also lead to more goals, as was the case Friday. That style helped in Orono’s drive to the Eastern Maine championship last fall.
“We’re trying to play to the outside so we can get some space to attack and our kids are getting a little more skillful with that,” Dyjak said.
He gave the outmatched Patriots credit for not throwing in the towel.
“They never stopped playing hard, they played cleanly and they played hard to the end,” Dyjak said.
Elizabeth Fox had three saves on five shots for Orono while Shelby Fowles and Hannah Bess combined to make nine saves on 25 shots for Penquis.