St. John Valley

Owl soccer teams eliminated in semifinals

The Madawaska varsity soccer teams saw their seasons come to an end in the semifinal round of the Class D North playoffs.

The girls dropped Saturday’s match on the road to the No. 2 and defending regional champion Ashland Hornets by a score of 2-1.

Despite being the higher seed, Hornet coach Peter Belskis admitted his team probably had no business winning Saturday’s Class D North semifinal against Madawaska.

But they went out and did it anyway.

The second-ranked Ashland Hornets were outshot by a margin of 19-9 overall, including 10-3 in the second half, but they still managed to score the lone goal after intermission to break a tie game and edge the No. 6 Owls.

“That was probably a game we shouldn’t have won,” said Belskis. “Our top scorer [Shelby Stolze] was fighting an injury and was a non-factor in the second half, they took 17 corner kicks to our four, and we are a young team and were a tired team going against a physically stronger and talented opponent.

“But we showed chemistry, character and grittiness and it turned out to be a very rewarding win,” he added.

Freshman Gabby Ayotte supplied the game-winning goal, which came on a brilliant play with just 5:28 left on the clock.

Also delivering a clutch effort was Ashland’s goalkeeper, eighth-grader Reagan Libby. She made eight saves on the day, but Belskis said four or five were “spectacular stops on balls that were going into the corner.”

The Hornets opened the scoring in the match and wasted little time in doing so. Danni Carter blasted in a shot from 35 yards out to make it 1-0 just 5:45 in. Madawaska fought back and finally put one in with 1:31 to go before halftime as Brianne Thibeault rebounded the ball in after the initial shot attempt by Isabelle Jandreau was stopped by Libby.

Madawaska finished with a 10-7 record.

On the boys’ side, the top-ranked Central Aroostook Panthers defeated No. 4 Madawaska Friday afternoon, 3-1,

Hunter Wardwell scored the tie-breaking goal unassisted six minutes into the second half, and Bryan Anthony added the clincher off a Ben Thomas assist with 4:28 left in the matchup between two teams very familiar with each other.

Central Aroostook, now 16-0 on the season, has now recorded three wins over the Owls this fall. The Panthers had beaten them in Madawaska on Aug. 24 by a score of 4-1 and at home on Sept. 4, 4-0.

The Panthers had the better of the offensive chances throughout the match, but Madawaska goalkeeper Andrew Nadeau came up with a couple great saves and finished up with five while facing 20 shots. Nadeau’s aggressive play and athletic ability allowed him to be successful in snuffing out numerous attempts by Central Aroostook attackers.

Nadeau was helpless on the Panthers’ first tally, which came on a penalty kick by Thomas at the 22:03 mark of the opening half that he fired into the upper right corner of the goal.

“That penalty kick got us going,” Central Aroostook coach Wallace Endy said. “You get that first one and it give you momentum.”

Less than four minutes later, the Owls squared things up when Tristan Cyr ripped a shot past Central Aroostook Brayden Bradbury. Robert Lausier earned the assist on the goal.

The teams went into intermission with the score tied, but the Panthers kept the pressure on and despite some acrobatic plays by Nadeau were able to put in the two unanswered goals and kept the Madawaska offense silent.

“Cyr is their go-to guy, and if you can give him some static on defense you can be successful, and I thought we did a good job on him overall,” Endy said.

Bradbury ended up with three saves while facing eight shots.

The Madawaska boys ended up with a 10-6-1 mark.

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