OLD TOWN — It was only a matter of time before Katie DeShane was going to get an opportunity.
John Bapst had the dangerous Old Town forward marked tightly early and often Saturday, but the one time DeShane got behind the defense, she made the Crusaders pay.
DeShane scored on a breakaway with 18:50 remaining in regulation and the Coyotes held on from there for a 2-1 victory over the Crusaders from Bangor in a well-played Class B girls soccer match Saturday afternoon.
Both clubs are 2-2-1.
The sequence on the winning goal started with a booming goal kick from OT’s Annie Cashon, which Ashley England got a perfect head on, and the speedy DeShane beat her defender to the ball and was off to the races.
“That was a nice over-ball. It couldn’t have been played any better,” said DeShane.
John Bapst goalkeeper Mackenzie Hayman actually got her fingertips on the ball, but couldn’t quite come up with DeShane’s rocket.
“My goalie got a hand on it, but her hand just went back instead of hitting it (straight up),” first-year John Bapst head coach Nikki Novak said.
Even though the Crusaders dominated play and won virtually every 50-50 ball during the first half, it was Old Town that converted its best scoring chance into a 1-0 halftime lead.
Meagan Cousins broke down the left flank and sent a hard, low shot to Hayman’s left at the 20:42 mark.
The Crusaders peppered the Coyotes’ net in the first 40 minutes, but Cashon made a few quality stops to keep the Coyotes in front at the break.
“I don’t know what clicks when we get in the second half, it’s just we want to win, we’ve got to go for it, but for some reason it doesn’t come in the first half sometimes,” DeShane explained.
It almost didn’t work out that way, as John Bapst’s Victoria Miller tied it 5:11 into the second half, one-touching a rebound past the dive of Cashon.
But that woke up coach Chuck Neely’s club a little bit, and the Coyotes wore down the Crusaders from there, limiting Bapst’s counterattack.
“We just talked about what we needed to do, the fact we just needed to get the ball down a little bit quicker and make the small passes,” said Neely, whose club has endured a brutal early-season schedule that has included games with Caribou, Presque Isle and two-time defending EM Class C champion Orono.
The Coyotes did a better job with their possession game as the contest wore on, averting from the “boot-ball” style that most teams prefer not to use.
“We have excellent passing when we try and when we think about what we’re doing,” DeShane said. “When we do put our heads in the game we’re a pretty dangerous team.”
Old Town managed to pull it out despite missing Ashley Abbott (mononucleosis) and Kayla Brooks (ankle injury).
After taking the lead, the Coyotes switched to a defensive-oriented 5-4-1 (five backs, four midfielders, one striker) alignment, which prevented the Crusaders from mounting any serious threats.
“We wanted to stock up on defense so we could keep that lead,” said DeShane.
Bapst’s best opportunity came in the final minute, but a Lexi Chasse shot from the top left corner of the penalty area went just wide.
Hayman played solidly in goal for the Crusaders, making seven saves on 11 shots in filling in for starter Abby Pyne, who is in California training with the Under-14 girls National Team.
Novak was pleased with the effort from her players, especially since most of them are battling illness.
“I think we completely dominated the first half and then we just got tired because most of my girls are sick anyway, we just came into it with colds and what not,” Novak said.
Cashon finished with five saves on 16 shots for Old Town.