ELLSWORTH — Both Ellsworth High School boys soccer coach Brian Higgins and Presque Isle coach Joe Greaves felt the scoreline in Ellsworth’s 4-1 victory was misleading, especially considering the fact that Presque Isle attempted 26 shots to Ellsworth’s nine.
“We were opportunistic tonight,” said Higgins. “The ball bounced to us.”
“I thought we played pretty well,” said Greaves. “Both teams were solid defensively, so it came down to who would capitalize on the other one’s mistakes.”
Goals 40 seconds apart early in the second half by junior center midfielder Josh Bean broke a 1-1 tie and sent the undefeated and untied Eagles on their way to their 10th win.
Presque Isle is now 8-1-1.
Bean assisted on the other two goals, both by senior striker and leading scorer Kyle Haslam.
It was the first two-goal, two-assist game of Bean’s career.
Haslam opened the scoring just 2:48 into the game by heading home a Bean corner, but Isaac LaJoie scored a deserved equalizer with 11:29 left in the half as he swooped on a blocked shot and curled a 15-yard shot between goalie Thomas Sawyer and the post to his right.
Bean broke the tie with 24:16 left in regulation after supplying Nick Holt with a through ball down the left channel of the penalty area.
Holt’s shot attempt was blocked by the defense.
“I followed the ball because nobody was crashing the net,” explained Bean. “It deflected right to me. I was in the middle and there was a gap between two players, so I touched it right between them.”
Bean’s 12-yard shot cleanly beat Presque Isle goalie Andrew Kofstad, who was caught off guard due to the deflection.
Bean created his next goal with some nifty dribbling from left to right in the penalty area.
“I went into the corner and was able to dribble out of the situation I got myself into,” said Bean. “I got around one more defender and decided to either cross it or shoot.”
“I put it on the ground to the far post,” explained Bean. “I was hoping somebody would be there or it would go in. It hit off the goalie’s hands and off a player and went in.”
Kofstad dove to his left but the rolling ball bounced in off his hands.
“We figured they were going to come out hard in the second half, but we weathered the storm in the first 10 minutes and got our legs back,” said Greaves. “Then they punched one in and that really hurt. They got another right afterward.”
Haslam’s insurance goal with 11:30 remaining came when he tapped in a Bean pass from point-blank range after Bean had maneuvered cleverly down the left flank.
Presque Isle had the edge in possession and won its share of 50-50 balls, but the Eagle back line led by Ben Curtis limited the Wildcats’ high-percentage scoring chances and blocked a bunch of shots. Ellsworth did an efficient job getting numbers behind the ball in the defensive third.
“We hustled as hard as we could and tried to step in front of everything,” said Curtis.
PI sweeper Cole Richards keyed a strong PI defensive performance until Bean broke the game open.
“Josh really controls the field for us,” praised Higgins.
Sawyer finished with eight saves while Kofstad had two.