Monday, March 10, 2014
FARMINGDALE -- The Mt. Abram boys soccer team crowded the Hall-Dale offensive zone with players so the Bulldogs knew they would need to hustle, crash the net and take advantage of opportunities to score goals.
Tyler Fitzgerald said that is how he scores all his goals, so it was no surprise he got on the board twice.
Fitzgerald and Nat Crocker both had a pair of goals as Hall-Dale beat Mt. Abram 4-0 on Friday at Hall-Dale High School to advance to the Western Maine Class C championship game.
"That is how I score all my goals, I just crash the net after everyone shoots," Fitzgerald said. "Sometimes I get lucky. I think that's my 11th goal and I've scored each one of them like that."
No. 1 Hall-Dale improves to 15-0-1 and advances to play the winner of today's matchup between No. 2 St. Dominic and No. 3 Waynflete in the regional final. No. 5 Mt. Abram ends the season 8-5-2.
Fitzgerald scored back-to-back goals, one in each half, to give Hall-Dale a 3-0 lead. With 23:26 left in the first half, he followed up a shot by Colin Lush to give the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead. In the second half, he scored on another rebound, this time on a shot by Steve Longfellow.
"In the playoffs a lot of the goals are hustle and effort goals, not a lot of goals are on creative plays," Hall-Dale coach Andy Haskell said. "It was nice to see that he came up in clutch situations. He is not a starter, that is part of our depth. I thought he and Steve Longfellow did a good job creating opportunities."
Mt. Abram, which lost to Hall-Dale 6-1 in the regular-season opener for both teams on Sept. 1, packed it in defensively to try to slow down the high-scoring Bulldogs. The Roadrunners were fairly successful in limiting Hall-Dale's chances, but a couple of breakdowns cost them.
Crocker got Hall-Dale on the board when he recovered an errant goal kick and beat Mt. Abram goalie Tristen Dyer with 14 minutes into the first half. Dyer kept the Roadrunners in the game in the first, making a point-blank save shortly after Fitzgerald's first goal then punching a shot over the crossbar with 7:02 left in the first.
"The first time we played them, I had three guys ineligible and I told our guys, 'At the end of the year, that is going to be the same team and we are going to be a better team,' " Mt. Abram coach Mark Lopez said. "And really, two defensive mistakes and a PK, you take that away and maybe it is a 2-0 game. Actually, we accomplished what we tried to do, which was become a better team."
Hall-Dale pushed its lead to 4-0 when Crocker scored his second goal of the game on a penalty kick, which was awarded because of a foul in the penalty area.
Scott Martin -- 621-5618