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Dirigo girls open playoffs with victory
DIXFIELD -- The third time proved to be a charm for the Dirigo girls’ soccer team, who refused to let history repeat itself in a Class C quarterfinal playoff game at windy Harlow Park.
Senior Alyssa Wade was in the right place at the right time by scoring goals in each half and a total effort in the second half allowed the Lady Cougars to keep Monmouth corralled in a 3-1 win.
The win was rewarding because it erased a thorn in Dirigo’s side which had lost two previous quarterfinal games on penalty kicks. Both teams had to compensate for the cold and gusty cross wind that cased airborne balls to carry extended distances.
“I felt we took it to them the opening 15 minutes,” said Dirigo coach Art Chamberlin, whose Cougars beat Monmouth 3-0 in their only meeting this season. “But Monmouth came roaring back and at that point I believe it was more mentally (taxing) on the girls. Still, you really have to credit them because they played a strong game.”
Dirigo was awarded a corner and Natalie Bolduc kicked a rising line drive that sailed in front of the net. The Mustang defenders were positioned, but Wade got a head on the ball and redirected it past Monmouth goalie Adriana Gonzeles. It gave the Cougars a 2-0 lead with 7:26 remaining in the first half.
"In the first half, we played well,” said Wade. “We were communicating and passing the ball well. We certainly didn’t want things to end up (penalty kicks) like in the past.”
Monmouth’s Kylie Kemp set up freshman Caroline Bonnerfant, who booted a hard shot that Dirigo goalie Natasha Deroche smothered.
On a direct kick, Kemp kicked the ball over the outstretched arms of Deroche with 1:18 left in the first half.
Dirigo had maintained offensive pressure early on and Paige Murphy centered a ball to Bolduc, who headed over Gonzeles (10 saves), 7:37 into the game. Bolduc received a bloody nose in the melee.
Dirigo regained the momentum in the second half. Kayla Gaudin, Michelle Morrison and Wade bottled up the midfield, while Bryce Parent stepped up defensively. Deroche didn’t touch a ball in the entire latter half.
“The spirit of this team carried us,” said Wade, who scored from 18 yards with 6:43 left in the game. “We knew a one goal lead wouldn’t be enough, so we needed to play hard.”
Despite her best effort, Cougar goalie Natasha Deroche was not able to prevent Monmouth's only goal of the game, on a direct kick just before the end of the first half. (Times photo by Bruce Farrin)
Dirigo's Natalie Bolduc put pressure on Monmouth's defense all game. Here, she almost got to the loose ball that got behind the Mustang goalie. (Times photo by Bruce Farrin)