Thursday, April 17, 2014
WATERVILLE — Quick to the ball and relentless on the attack, the Waterville girls soccer team played very much like the No. 1 seed in an Eastern B quarterfinal game Tuesday against Old Town.
Pilar Elias scored three goals, including two in the second half , as top-seeded Waterville rolled to a 4-0 victory over No. 9 Old Town before a modest crowd at Webber Field.
The Purple Panthers (14-1-0) will host No. 5 Caribou (12-4-0) in a regional semifinal game Saturday at a time to be determined. Old Town, which had just two shots on goal, finished 8-8-0.
Jayme Saulter also scored while Lydia Roy, Colleen O’Donnell, Sarah Shoulta and Jenn Christensen had assists.
“It feels awesome,” Elias said. “We came back nice from our loss in the regular season. It was good to see that.”
The Panthers dropped a frustrating1-0 decision to Oceanside in the regular-season finale on Oct. 22. It didn’t take long for them to erase the sting of that defeat.
Elias scored just 7 minutes, 35 seconds into the game when she converted a rebound off a Roy shot.
“Lydia got the shot off and it bounced off their goalie,” Elias said. “I followed through and drilled it into the corner.”
The Panthers controlled the play from the outset but, despite an abundance of excellent scoring chances, couldn’t push another one past keeper Nicole Robichaud in the half.
“I think we had some first-round jitters,” Waterville coach Ian Wilson said. “We were excited to play, not scared, but I think we were a little nervous early. We kept missing by a whisker here and there.”
The Panthers didn’t miss much in the second half.
Saulter made it 2-0 with 12:23 left in the second half when she took a pass from O’Donnell and lofted a shot over the head of Robichaud to the far corner. The goal gave the Panthers some much needed wiggle room.
“We stayed patient and didn’t panic,” Wilson said. “We didn’t want to change a thing because we knew good things would come. That goal was a big weight off our shoulders.”
Added Shoulta: “We knew we couldn’t let up. It was only 1-0 so we had to step it up, and we did.”
Waterville extended the lead when Elias buried a cross from Shoulta with 3:21 left in regulation.
“I ran a back-post run and got my stomach on it,” Elias said.
Elias made it 4-0 about a minute and a half later when she headed the ball past Robichaud after taking a nice pass from Christensen inside the box.
The Panthers finished with 26 shots on goal and had six corner kicks.
“There are some things we need to work on, some things we have to do better,” Wilson said, “but I think it had to do more with the jitters. It was good to get the win and move on.”Bill Stewart — email@example.comTwitter: @billstewartkj