Cougars shut down the Mustangs
DIXFIELD -- There is something special about playing under the lights and the Dirigo boys' soccer team definitely rose to the occasion when it was necessary in a Mountain Valley Conference game at Harlow Park.
Chad Snowman and Hunter Ross each scored goals, while the Cougars defense was spearheaded by goalie Mike Chow, who proved to be unflappable in a 2-0 shutout against Monmouth Academy.
Dirigo stayed aggressive and maintained constant pressure on the Mustangs on both ends of the field. Still, it was Chow who made several big saves. The Cougars defense was equally effective, led by sweeper Brian Volkernick, Aighdan Weisar, Jason Baldinelli and Randy Deroche, who constantly cleared balls out of the zone.
Monmouth was unable to generate a sustained offensive attack, mainly because of the strategy Dirigo deployed on Mustang sniper Kyle Fletcher. It was Baldinelli who shadowed Fletcher throughout a majority of the game.
"Jason did an outstanding job on Fletcher,” said Dirigo coach Jack Rioux. "(And) as well as TJ (Frost) when Fletcher moved back into the midfield. Mike is playing well for us in net and is getting better every game."
Chow was slammed into by Monmouth's Joe Menice on a rush to the net. Chow, who was looked at by trainer Aaron Perreault on the field, was forced to go off and replaced by Deroche until the next whistle.
The game was deadlocked until Volkernick booted a long advancing pass to Snowman, who blew past two Monmouth defenders. The speed move forced Mustang goalie Kasey Smith to hold his position and Snowman kicked a line drive into the back of the net with 16:40 left in the first half.
Early in the second half, Dirigo had a lapse, but refocused and counter-attacked. The offensive thrust paid off when Ross scored off a Leon Kiem pass in front of the net. The Cougars received quality minutes from Yossapat Chanarune and Cody Dolloff in midfield.
"As a team I felt we played pretty good," said Rioux. "Defensively we were solid and up top Hunter and Chad are finishing for us. I think it was big win and something we can build on."