BREWER, Maine — Undefeated Hermon High School found itself in a dogfight with Brewer High School on Monday evening, mostly because Witches senior goalkeeper Libby Hewes turned in a spectacular, 17-save performance.
But it was a perfectly-placed cross by Allison Treat that finally gave the Hawks some breathing room en route to a 3-1 girls soccer victory.
The cross by the senior midfielder nestled into the upper far corner with 26:50 remaining in the contest to restore a two-goal cushion for the 5-0 Hawks, who dominated the game to the tune of a 32-14 advantage in shot attempts.
Treat received the ball from Paige Plissey along the left flank and floated a 20-yard cross that sailed past Hewes.
“All of my shots are actually crosses,” said Treat. “That one turned into a shot and a goal.”
“That was definitely a good shot,” said Hewes, whose Witches are 4-2.
“It gave the girls confidence again,” said Hermon coach M.J. Ball. “You play on pins and needles when it’s 2-1 and that’s when mistakes happen.”
“It was more of a relief,” said Hermon senior striker Olivia Nash, who scored Hermon’s second goal. “We knew we were all set after that.”
Hermon freshman standout Sydney Gallop opened the scoring 2:09 into the game with her team-leading ninth goal of the season. Nash made it 2-0 off a Treat cross with 12:32 left in the half.
Dynamic Brewer senior midfielder Maria Low sliced the lead in half with her 12th goal just 1:44 into the second half. Melaina Eaton assisted as Low nailed a precise 30-yarder into the top corner past Hermon goalkeeper Megan Chamberlain.
The Hawks had several glorious chances to regain a two-goal cushion, but the aggressive Hewes repeatedly thwarted them with her anticipation, agility and athleticism.
At least six of her 17 saves came on clean break-ins as she kept the Witches within striking distance. She made point-blank back-to-back saves during one second-half flurry.
“We talked at halftime that we needed to keep shooting from distance,” Ball said. “Hopefully, we’ll get one past her because she’s so aggressive, we’ll catch her out of position.”
Gallop scored when Maddy Higgins slipped her a pass along the left side of the penalty area and her shot rolled under Hewes into the short-side corner.
“I didn’t expect a shot to the near-side corner. I expected it to go high to the other side,” Hewes said. “By the time I turned my body around, it skipped through my jersey.”
Chamberlain wasn’t tested much as as most of Brewer’s shots came from outside the penalty area. Low accounted for 13 shot attempts.
Chamberlain prevented the Witches from tying it later in the half when Lowe’s cross deflected to an open Eaton, who had gotten behind the defense. Chamberlain rushed off her line and smothered Eaton’s shot for one of her 10 saves.
Nash extended the lead with a beautiful goal as she cut right to left across the penalty area and volleyed Treat’s cross out of the air with her left foot and directed it into the upper, short-side corner.
Chamberlain made another nice save off Low’s long shot toward the upper corner with seven minutes left. She fully extended to bat it away.
Gallop, Nash and Treat all had outstanding games for the Hawks as did senior defensive midfielder Grace Page. Low and Morgan Honey were Brewer’s standouts.
“They outplayed us from start to finish,” said Brewer coach Dave Hamel. “I kind of expected it. I was banking on absorbing, absorbing (pressure) and maybe getting a counter(-attack) goal.”
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