Sign in or Subscribe See Offers
Senior records a hat trick for the Raiders, who bounce back from a pair of shutout losses to beat Spruce Mountain/Dirigo.
WALES — The Oak Hill boys soccer team had high hopes for the 2022 season, with most of the starters back from last year’s team.
The Raiders, though, opened the season with two shutout losses.
They put those two games behind them Friday and, led by Ethan Vattaso’s three goals, cruised to a 4-1 win over Spruce Mountain/Dirigo Phoenix.
“We were really frustrated, having a talented team — everyone one through 11, it was just tough on us,” Vattaso, a senior, said of the season-opening losses to Hall-Dale and Monmouth. “Today, I was like, ‘We need to bring the team (confidence) back up.’ That first goal got us going because we didn’t get a goal in the first two games.”
The first goal was scored by Vattaso off a corner kick from Jordan Castonguay. The ball flew into the 18-yard box and Vattaso headed it past Phoenix goalie Logan Knight, putting Oak Hill up 1-0 five minutes into the game, its first lead of the season.
“There was a lot of pressure, not having a goal (in the first two games),” Vattaso said. “We knew we could put one in.”Advertisement
Nate Holland replaced for Knight shortly after the goal. Phoenix coach Adam Gettle said he occasionally makes a goalie switch early in a match.
Gettle added that the entire Spruce Mountain/Dirigo team got off to a slow start Friday.
“We didn’t come out of the gate with the intensity that we normally do,” Gettle said. “Our positioning was off today, and we didn’t come out of the gate with good first touches — we were lounging a little bit.”
The Phoenix responded after falling behind and, midway through the first half, Kaleb Finelli broke away from the Raiders’ defense with the ball and fired a low shot into the back of the net to tie the game at 1-1.
Gettle said the goal is something positive the Phoenix (1-2) can take away from the Friday’s loss.
“We distributed the ball really well, and (Finelli) used his speed and capitalized,” Gettle said.Advertisement
The score remained 1-1 for about five minutes, until Holland stopped a Drew Hatala shot, but the rebound went to Vattaso, and he put the ball into the net for a 2-1 Oak Hill lead.
“It’s certainly helpful to have people around the net and around the goalie when the ball (is loose) after a shot,” Oak Hill coach Bill Worth said.
The duo of Hatala and Vattaso almost truck again in the final 10 minutes of the first half. Vattaso slipped a pass in the box past Holland to Hatala for a goal, but the referee waved off the goal due to the Raiders being offsides.
Neither team scored again before halftime.
The Phoenix came out with energy after intermission and created a few offensive opportunities in the first 10 minutes of the second half.
“We came out communicating a little bit better, but we still weren’t 100 percent,” Gettle said.Advertisement
Raiders goalie Cade Fessenden made all three of his saves in the second half.
Oak Hill (1-2) had chances to extend the lead — one shot hit the crossbar and another flew just over the net. Finally, sophomore Jordan Castonguay added an insurance marker 18 minutes into the half with a blast from the top of the box.
Worth said that is important that the Raiders’ young players — like Castonguay and Hatala, also a sophomore — be offensive contributors early in the season.
“In my years past, I have had heavy senior(-laden) teams, and when they graduate, you are left with young kids,” Worth said. “It’s good to have experience throughout the classes. Having them as sophomores makes me look forward to the remainder of the season and years to come.”
Vattaso completed the hat trick with about two minutes remaining in the game by receiving a pass from Lukas Bergeron and then chipping the ball past Holland.
Success. Please wait for the page to reload. If the page does not reload within 5 seconds, please refresh the page.
Enter your email and password to access comments.
Don't have a commenting profile? Create one.
Hi, to comment on stories you must create a commenting profile. This profile is in addition to your subscription and website login. Already have a commenting profile? Login.
Please check your email to confirm and complete your registration.
Create a commenting profile by providing an email address, password and display name. You will receive an email to complete the registration. Please note the display name will appear on screen when you participate.
Already registered? Log in to join the discussion.
Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.
Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.
Send questions/comments to the editors.