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Last minute goal does in Cougars in quarterfinal
DIXFIELD --The stakes were high for the Dirigo boys' soccer team. However, the ball bounced the wrong way in a Class C quarterfinal playoff game.
The Cougars rejoiced when Hunter Ross scored on a drive to tie things up with 4:35 left, but the cheers were dashed when Amos Withee scored with 1:02 remaining to play as No. 5 Mount Abram pulled off a 2-1 upset over the Cougars at Harlow Park. It was the fourth straight year that the senior class wasn't been able to get beyond the quarterfinals.
“It has been a great season,” said Dirigo coach Jack Rioux, who completed his third year. "It was a good game. It was playoff soccer and the kids fought hard and came back.''
It was the third game between the MVC foes, Dirigo had beat the Roadrunners last month in Salem. The teams tied 1-1 in the final week of the regular season. In the rubber match, the Cougars had to be aware of Mount Abram's MO to mix it up with contact.
"You could say Mount Abram is a physical team. We knew if we wanted to compete today we needed to match that intensity,'' said Rioux. They was on a counter-attack in the latter stages of the second half, when Ross dribbled in to the box and drilled the ball past Mount Abram goalie Tristan Dyer. The action erased some frustration because Ross, TJ Frost and Chad Snowman each had had scoring chances, but were denied on the door step.
Frost's shot was cradled by Dyer (11 saves) early in second half. Snowman was open, but his shot sailed over the cross bar. Snowman's low boot was saved by Dyer.
Dirigo's defense, with Aighdan Weisar, Newman, Jason Baldinelli, Randy Deroche, had trouble clearing balls, which allowed the Roadrunners to pressure goalie Mike Chow. A miscue led directly to the winning goal, Chris Daley had gained control of the ball and dribbled toward the middle. The defense converged on Daley, which allowed Withee to sneak away on the back side and he kicked a low shot into the far corner.
Mount Abram's Jay Chernard scored when he hooked a shot inside near post with 3:18 left in the first half.
''I thought the momentum had shifted,'' said Rioux. ''That broke our hearts with minute left. That happens. That's sports. That's soccer.''
Dirigo's Travis Frost (left) battles a Mt. Abram defender for possession. (Times photo by Bruce Farrin)