Waynflete’s boys’ soccer team prepares to continue the penalty kicks portion of its quarterfinal round win over Carrabec. The Flyers appeared to have won on Tuesday, but had to come back Thursday to complete it.
Photo courtesy Travis Lee.
More photos below.
PORTLAND—Brandon Salway is at the tail end of his 27th year as Waynflete’s boys’ soccer coach.
It’s fair to say he’s never remotely experienced anything like the week just past.
The second-ranked Flyers got pushed to overtime and then penalty kicks before surviving No. 7 Carrabec in Tuesday’s quarterfinals, then learned the following day that the PKs weren’t handled appropriately and that they had to come back Thursday to finish. After surviving that mental roller-coaster, Waynflete got a gift Friday as top-seeded Hall-Dale lost, meaning Saturday’s 2-0 home win over No. 6 Sacopee Valley in the semifinals will allow the Flyers to host the Class C South Final Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon against fourth-ranked Monmouth Academy.
All’s well that ends well and Waynflete’s Gold Ball dreams are very much alive.
“I thought that the guys did a good job staying focused and having good attitudes about the whole thing,” said Salway. “It was a tough situation.”
Waynflete had a stellar regular season, losing only by a goal at Class A power Falmouth and by two at rival North Yarmouth Academy. The Flyers also settled for a scoreless tie at Sacopee Valley, but won their other 11 games to wind up second in Class C South.
Waynflete wasn’t expected to have much trouble with Carrabec Tuesday, but the Flyers couldn’t score in 110 minutes of normal play, so the game would go to penalty kicks.
Fateful penalty kicks.
In the first round of five kicks, Waynflete fell behind, 2-0, then rallied with a pair of conversions to force a second round. There, the Flyers were on the brink of victory, but the Cobras rallied to tie it 5-5 and send the game to a third round.
Except there wasn’t a third round, as the officials informed the teams the game would be decided in “sudden victory” PKs, as each team would get a chance.
Waynflete senior Jack Weston made his shot and Carrabec shot high.
The Cobras went home in heartbreak, the Flyers erupted in joy and prepared for the semifinal.
But it wouldn’t go that smoothly.
Salway was in Auburn scouting the St. Dom’s-Sacopee Valley quarterfinal Wednesday when he was informed by St. Dom’s athletic director Keith Weatherbie that the third round of PKs should have been treated like the first two and that the Maine Principals’ Association ruled that those additional four kicks per side had to played out Thursday afternoon.
As a result, the Flyers had to think about the fate of their season for nearly 24 hours, a veritable eternity.
“I didn’t get to talk to the guys because I had left practice to go scouting,” Salway said. “(Athletic director) Ross (Burdick) talked to them. For the record, I had questioned (the procedure) on the field at the time (Tuesday). The Carrabec coach said that the ref said we were going sudden death because of darkness.”
At 3 p.m. Thursday, Carrabec made the 100 mile bus ride to Fore River Fields and with Waynflete up, 6-5, in PKs, the teams completed the third round.
And would finally, once and for all, determine a winner.
Flyers sophomore Ilyas Abdi went first and buried his kick, but the Cobras made theirs as well.
Senior Willy Burdick converted for Waynflete and Flyers senior goalkeeper Milo Belleau then made a huge save.
Senior Ahmed Mohmaed opened the door for the Cobras by kicking the ball off the crossbar and Carrabec took advantage, scoring to pull within one.
Senior Abel Alemayo then stepped to the line with a chance to win it and he made sure he brought the whole frustrating chapter to a close by tickling the twine to give Waynflete a 0-0 (9-7 PK) victory, one which took nearly 48 hours to become official.
“All I said Thursday was, ‘Just make four kicks and it’s over, or make three kicks and Milo will save one,'” Salway said. “The guys stepped up and were confident. Someone told me the whole thing took just under six minutes. I felt like all the pressure was on us. It was a good learning experience for everybody. It was a bit of a relief. We had a good practice afterwards. The guys just wanted an opportunity to play again.”
Saturday, in much more conventional fashion, the Flyers took care of No. 6 Sacopee Valley, which had upset No. 3 St. Dom’s in its quarterfinal.
Waynflete beat visiting Sacopee Valley, 4-0, and settled for a 0-0 tie at the Hawks during the regular season. The teams’ lone prior playoff meeting came in the 2007 Western C preliminary round and ended in Sacopee Valley’s favor (1-1, 3-1 on PKs).
The Flyers came out strong and senior Aaron Lee sent Mohamed’s free kick just wide in the second minute.
After Hawks senior captain Will Goforth sent a shot just wide, Weston did the same for the hosts.
After Weston had a long shot saved, Mohamed had a shot blocked and Abdi sent the rebound high.
Finally, with 12:58 to play in the first half, after 137 minutes and 2 seconds of failing to score in the regular run of play in the postseason, Waynflete broke through.
The goal was set up by Silk, who played the ball down the right side, then switched fields, sending a long pass to Alemayo, who whipped a left-footed shot which soared off the crossbar and took a fortunate bounce in front where Abdi banged home the rebound for a 1-0 lead.
“Sometimes you need an extra effort play,” Salway said. “We did a good job anticipating that. It was a simple finish.”
After the Flyers broke up a couple Sacopee Valley corner kicks, they went back on the attack, seeking a second goal, but a Mohamed cross was cleared and Mohamed and Weston both shot high, sending the game to halftime 1-0.
Seven minutes into the second half, Waynflete did get breathing room, as Lee played the ball in with a cross and after it was deflected, Silk buried it for a 2-0 lead.
The Flyers’ defense slammed the door from there and Waynflete advanced with much less drama than the round previous.
“We shut them down,” Salway said. “Milo only had to make three saves. It was nice to not have to worry about OT or PKs.”
Waynflete will play host to Monmouth Academy (13-3) in the regional final. The teams don’t play in the regular season and have never squared off in the Class C playoffs. The squads did meet four times in five years between 1996 and 2000 in Class D, with the Mustangs winning three of the games. Monmouth Academy won in the 1996 Western D Final (2-1), 1997 semifinals (1-0) and 1998 semifinals (5-1). The Flyers’ lone victory was a 2-0 triumph in the 2000 semifinals.
“It’s great to have had some key wins during the regular season that set us up in this (homefield) position,” Salway said. “I got a good scouting report on Monmouth. They’re a competitive bunch. They overcame adversity and came back from a two-goal deficit against NYA (in the quarterfinals). That should have our attention. We hope to take care of business. The guys are excited to be playing again. They want to extend their season.”
The winner of the regional final will face either Washington Academy (16-0) or Central (15-1) in Saturday’s Class C state final in Presque Isle.
Waynflete senior Cooper Chap plays the ball.
Waynflete sophomore Ilyas Abdi weaves through the Sacopee Valley defense.
Waynflete senior Willy Burdick plays the ball up to classmate Cooper Chap.
2007 Western C preliminary round
Sacopee Valley 1 Waynflete 1 (3-1 PKs)