Bulldogs blow past Cougar booters
DIXFIELD -- There was a different set of feelings when Dirigo and Hall Dale matched wits in a boys' Mountain Valley Conference soccer game and for good reason.
The Cougars team realized it would be an uphill battle.
Zach McNaughton scored two of the three goals in the first half as the Bulldogs clearly supplied pressure in a 6-0 triumph against the Cougars Saturday morning at windy Harlow Park.
The game was supposed to be a test for Dirigo, who had won five of its first six games. But the Cougars was hindered because their top scorer Chad Snowman was sidelined, after having suffered a broken knuckle on his left hand two nights earlier against Mount Abram.
“We'll build on this,” said Dirigo coach Jack Rioux, regarding the action with Hall Dale, who had beat the Cougars last year, 1-0 in the second game of season and again 2-1 in playoffs. "We knew entering the game that Hall Dale is a very good team and we would really need to (overachieve) and counter attack. And yes, we missed the services of Mr. Snowman."
Dirigo had to adjust its lineup and Hunter Ross was going to be a marked man on offense. Ross was held back in the fray, while Leon Keim and Trevor Statham shared time in helping over the top.
Hall Dale started out with a strong passing game, advanced the ball directly into the offensive zone. Bulldog coach Andy Haskell utilizes a diamond arrangement and knows how important that proper spacing is; the players were instructed to get the ball into the mixture.
The Cougar defense drew the task of fending off the Bulldog rushes -- led by sweeper Brian Volkernick, Aighdan Weisar, Jason Baldinelli and Randy Deroche -- who constantly cleared balls out of the zone. They all were back dropping, when McNaughton booted a 30-yarder into the short side nine minutes into the game and Nat Crooker hit the cross-bar and the ball bounced behind by Dirigo goalie Mike Chow (16 saves).
"Mike has done a good job for us," said Rioux. Chow made several diving saves and cradled one-on-one shots. “Mike has started all seven games, and eight in his entire career, so he has exceeded expectations.”
Dirigo was held without a shot until a Ross free kick sailed to TJ Frost (sore leg) who put the ball on net with 13 minutes remaining in first half.
Dirigo, whose JV's played the last 15 minutes of the game, have all week to regroup and will host Wiscasset this Saturday in a homecoming game.