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Cougars edged in soccer battle
DIXFIELD -- When two strong teams square off, anything can happen and that certainly was the case as Dirigo and Hall Dale matched wits in a boys' Mountain Valley Conference game Saturday morning at sunny Harlow Park.
Kevin Zembroski scored the lone goal on a deflection midway through the first half, then Hall Dale fended off some late pressure for a 1-0 triumph against the Cougars in an early season test.
Dirigo (1-1) and Hall Dale (2-0) each returned several starters from last year and figure to be in the thick of things before its over.
”This was a good matchup,” said Hall Dale coach Andy Haskell. “I knew Dirigo would be ready for us because they were playing at home in an important conference game.”
Hall Dale planned to start out with a high intensity level and combined with a strong passing game advanced the ball directly into the offensive zone. Zembroski booted the ball over the cross bar and Nat Crocker’s low shot was cradled by Dirigo goalie Caleb Turner.
The ball eventually reached the crease and a Cougars defender attempted to clear the zone. However, the ball found Zembroski, who booted a low shot toward the right corner by Turner (9 saves) with 18:16 remaining in the first half.
Dirigo counter attacked and when Hall Dale was whistled for an improper charge, Cody St. Germain booted a ball over the cross bar. Chad Snowman broke in on the right side, but Bulldog goalie Zach McNaughton (5 saves) made a butterfly save.
“My kids showed a great effort,” said Dirigo coach Jack Rioux. “We are obviously not happy with the results, but they played hard for the entire 80 minutes today. There had been glimpses of playing hard during preseason and against Carrabec, so it was great to see.”
The Cougars welcomed back senior defensemen Josh Turbide and Jeremy Briggs, with Garret Carver and Brian Volkernick, the Dirigo defense remained busy.
“The 11 on the field played together as a team,” said Rioux. “It was great to have Josh and Jeremy back, but our defensive pressure prevented Hall Dale players from squaring up. TJ Frost did a good job of marking up on Hall Dale’s Colin Lush, who had hurt us last year.”