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MDI boys’ soccer rides depth to defeat Ellsworth

first_imgBAR HARBOR — After slow starts in past years, the Mount Desert Island boys’ soccer team wanted to avoid another at all costs in 2018. In one of the team’s biggest games of the year, the Trojans stepped up to the plate.Missing top scorer September Murray and assist leader Reider Watson, MDI entered a rivalry showdown against Ellsworth on Monday at a disadvantage. Yet this year’s MDI team is one head coach Tyler Frank believes is greater than the sum of its parts, and in this game, the Trojans showed why.MDI showcased its team depth Monday night to earn a 3-0 win over Ellsworth in Bar Harbor. The win gave the Trojans four straight victories over the Eagles and provided the team a major boost as it approaches the second half of its schedule.“We’ve had some injuries and illnesses, and September and Reider were caught up in that,” Frank said. “To have your No. 1 scorer so far this year and your No. 1 assist guy out and still be able to win like we did is a testament to where we are as a team right now.”This is placeholder textThis is placeholder textEllsworth (0-6) controlled the ball in the MDI half for the first 10 minutes of the game, but the momentum soon shifted when the Trojans’ Leao Nelson had a shot on goal saved two minutes later. That scoring chance seemed to rejuvenate the home team, which took a 1-0 lead with 23 minutes, 25 seconds left in the first half when Derek Collin fired a shot into the top-right corner.Just when it looked as if Collin’s strike would be the only goal of the first half, Oliver Johnston stepped up to the plate for MDI (3-2-1). With 4:10 left in the half, Johnston sent a powerful free kick past the Ellsworth wall and into the bottom-right corner to double the Trojans’ advantage going into the break.“I sort of have a dipping shot, and I was trying to get it over the wall and into that corner,” Johnston said. “It was actually lower than I was hoping for, but it managed to go in.”Ellsworth’s Connor Frank leads a breakaway during the second half of a high school boys’ soccer game against MDI on Sept. 17 in Bar Harbor. MDI’s win  was its fourth straight against the Eagles. ELLSWORTH AMERICAN PHOTO BY MIKE MANDELLThe Trojans put the ball into the net a third time with 27 minutes to go in the second half, but the goal was ruled out for a foul in front of the goalkeeper. Although Ellsworth nearly scored when Carter Frank fired a shot just wide with 20 minutes left, Collin scored a second time with 6:12 to play to give MDI the game’s final goal.MDI has been no stranger to regional playoff appearances in recent years, but the Trojans believe they can go even higher than they have in the past. The Trojans haven’t won the Class B North title since 2000, and this year’s group is hoping to change that.“We set those goals each year, and I think this is one of the highest bars we’ve set,” Tyler Frank said. “This team is really focused on the Northern Maine championship, and we think we can beat anybody on any given day if we’re playing our best.”MDI will play on the road against Washington Academy (5-2) at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 19. The Trojans will then play on the road against Caribou (3-1-1) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22, before hosting Presque Isle at 4 p.m. next Monday, Sept. 24.Those upcoming contests will be important for MDI if it wants to further its hopes for a high seed in the Northern Maine playoffs. Both Aroostook County opponents are near the top of the Class B North standings, meaning the Trojans will need more strong results to position themselves for success come playoff time.“I think this year we realized that we got off to slower starts in the past, and we wanted to not put ourselves in that hole this time,” Johnston said. “Now we’re to the point where we can win games even if guys are out, and that’s big for us with these tough games ahead.”Ellsworth will battle Old Town (1-3-1) at home at 6 p.m. Wednesday. The Eagles will then play on the road against Hermon at 11 a.m. Saturday and host John Bapst at 6 p.m. Monday. Bio Latest Posts Ellsworth runners compete in virtual Boston Marathon – September 16, 2020 Mike MandellMike Mandell is the sports editor at The Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander. He began working for The American in August 2016. You can reach him via email at [email protected]center_img Hospice volunteers help families navigate grief and find hope – September 12, 2020 MPA approves golf, XC, field hockey, soccer; football, volleyball moved to spring – September 10, 2020 Latest posts by Mike Mandell (see all)last_img

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