Patriots throw Laker girls’ soccer team for a loss, 3-0

PHYSICAL PLAY was the theme of the day as the Lakers took on Gray-NG. Here, Meghan Boos of Lake Region fights for the ball along the sideline. (Rivet Photo)

PHYSICAL PLAY was the theme of the day as the Lakers took on Gray-NG. Here, Meghan Boos of Lake Region fights for the ball along the sideline. (Rivet Photo)

By Wayne E. Rivet
Staff Writer
Maria Valente is a dangerous weapon even when she is 20 yards away from the soccer goal and standing out-of-bounds.
The Patriot senior scored a goal on a long toss from the sideline that sailed over the outstretched hand of Lake Region goalie Isabel Scribner with 1:23 left in the first half, and assisted on a second-half score as tenth-ranked Gray-New Gloucester blanked seventh-seeded Lake Region 3-0 Saturday afternoon.
The Patriots (8-6-1) advanced to the Class B quarterfinals. Lake Region finished 7-7-1.
Laker Coach Harvey Toews knew Valente would be a weapon for the Patriots.
“We spent a majority of practice on the Friday before the game working on preventing and defending the throw-in. Few players have the ability to put the ball in the box on a throw-in like Maria does, so we were clear about the danger of allowing throw-ins deep in or defensive third,” Coach Toews said. “Our hope was to limit the opportunities and then to be able to mark physically and aggressively in the box when they did occur. Clearly, we did neither well enough on Saturday.”
Gray-NG, which lost to the Lakers 4-3 early in the season, jumped out to a 1-0 lead when Hannah Dixon scored off a corner kick at the 11:45 mark.
The Lakers had a couple of potential scoring rushes, but never quite unloaded a testing drive on Patriot netminder Zoe Adams, who had five saves.
“Gray did a good job of basic defending — they are a sound unit. Our girls did a nice job with possession during the game, but struggled to turn that into quality scoring chances,” Coach Toews said. “Becoming more aggressive in that area will be a continued focus of work moving forward.”
To add more scoring thump, Coach Toews said the Lakers will need to improving their ability to finish, make proper runs, play with confidence, and increase their physical and mental toughness. Gray-NG certainly won the physical battle as several Lakers hit the deck and required medical attention throughout both halves.
“Neither team created good scoring opportunities during the flow of play,” Coach Toews said. “Gray was superior in converting on set plays and that was the difference in the game.”
Up 2-0, the Patriots had an early chance in the second half to ice the victory. The Lakers were called for a foul inside the box at 29:48, but the Patriot’s shooter booted the penalty kick wide of the net.
Haley True made it 3-0 with 1:10 left in the contest off a scramble in front of the Laker net.
“This was a great experience for our team. The girls came out strong and controlled the early flow, but were unable to maintain that energy,” Coach Toews said. “We are still a young team and started seven underclassmen. This was the first playoff game hosted by Lake Region in some time and so it was a new experience for our players. Given that, I think they did a good job of dealing with the pressure. Continuing to develop mental toughness in pressure situations will be a significant part of our work going forward.”
As the Lakers returned to their bench while Patriots celebrated their victory nearby, Coach Toews reminded his players where the program had been, where it was this year, and where he would like to see it go in the future.

TRYING TO KEEP CONTROL of the ball in the Patriot end is Laker CeCe Hancock (left). (Rivet Photo)

TRYING TO KEEP CONTROL of the ball in the Patriot end is Laker CeCe Hancock (left). (Rivet Photo)

“We will continue to work on developing basic technical skills, tactical understanding of positional responsibilities, overall conditioning, and the physical and mental toughness required to succeed in pressure situations,” he said.
When a season comes to an end, the difficult part is the coaching staff’s bidding farewell to the seniors.
“Our seniors were terrific this year and we will miss all of them a great deal,” Coach Toews said. “Bailey Crawford, Whitney Harriman, Devin Langadas and Brittany Perreault all brought great desire and attitudes to every practice and game. I wish we had more than the two years we worked together for player development, but they all gave us everything they had whenever their numbers were called.”
A big hole in the Laker lineup will be goalie. As she did all season, Isabel Scribner made several big saves to keep her team close, including deflecting away two shots headed for the top corners of the cage.
“It will be impossible to replace what our all-star keeper, Isabel Scribner, brought to our team. She has a tireless work ethic, a wonderful sense of humor and ability to remain positive. She was one of the best pressure situation keepers I have seen,” Coach Toews said. “She made a number of PK (penalty kick) saves over two years and kept us in many games last year when we were struggling to win any games. This year, she provided veteran leadership from start to finish. She is a great kid and will be missed by players and coaches alike.”

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