BRUNSWICK—The Brunswick Dragons (7-3-4) boys’ soccer team got an emotional 1-0 win over the Lewiston Blue Devils (11-2-1) Tuesday evening on the newly dedicated Peter Gardner soccer field, named after the longtime coach.
“It’s quite an emotional day, so special,” said Gardner. “I never expected it to happen like this. It’s just incredible feeling.”
The kids knew how important the game was to playoff seeding and also to their coach who has been with the school in some capacity for 43 years.
“It’s huge to win on his first game on the dedicated field,” said sophomore Ryan Black.
After an early chance by Brunswick in the five minute mark, when the ball sailed wide past the far upper-90, it was sophomore Ryan Black who lofted the ball past Lewiston goalie Eric Soucy in the 19th minute of the first half.
“Konnor Scarponi gave me a ball and it was bouncing and I chipped it over the goalie,” said Black. “I immediately knew it was going in. It was a good feeling.”
Gardner said the team continued to build confidence.
“The last three or four games, they have played really well,” Gardner stated. “I think the fact the played really well and have confidence how to do things. I think that has helped them a really great deal.”
The Dragons continued the pressure three minutes later and Zack Lavoie’s shot bounced over the crossbar and nearly made it 2-0 Dragons.
“We don’t normally play that way, but we decided we had to do that to relief the pressure on our defense,” said Gardner, of using the long kicks to kick start the offense.
Lewiston’s best chance came late in the first half when Eric Michard’s chip shot bounced over the crossbar.
The Blue Devils felt the urgency in the second half to tie the game by attacking the penalty box, but Brunswick’s defense defended the box, only limiting the Blue Devil’s to shots around the 18-yard marker.
“Once he got a chance to see them and they don’t get deflected, you got a good chance to get them,” said Gardner, of his goalkeeper, Greg Walton.
The Blue Devils thought they tied it up with 7:30 remaining, but Walton made a leaping save to secure the victory.
“It was just a reaction,” said Walton (six saves). “I have played all year and it’s just reactions to everything.”
Gardner hopes the win will lead to a long run for his seniors
“The senior class it gives them a little more momentum what they need to do, because they hate to leave” added Gardner. “They really worked hard as a unit and they have a lot of pride on what they want to do.”
With the win, Brunswick moved to fifth in the Maine Principals’ Association’s Heal Point standings. The playoffs start Saturday with the preliminary round.