FRYEBURG — The Fryeburg Academy boys’ soccer team (2-2) kicked right into its regular season with plenty of explosive offense, which seems to be a bit ahead of the defense following extended summer and fall trainings where technical ball skills received plenty of attention, but defending was not allowed due to social distancing protocols.
The Raiders dominated Sacopee Valley (0-2) in an 8-1 victory on Sept. 26. This was followed by a disappointing 4-3 ovetime loss at Lake Region (4-0) last Friday. This week, the Raiders, extended into overtime twice more, coming off the field at Oxford Hills (1-1) with a 5-4 win on Monday, but dropping a 3-2 decision at home on Wednesday.
Against the Hawks in their opener, the Raiders were dominant from the start and the offense and scoring was spread among many players.
At the Lakers, the Raiders exhibited plenty of speed and technical ability which created countless dangerous scoring opportunities. Both 11s suffered some disorganization in defense in the high-scoring affair. Lake Region striker Jason Harlow particularly took advantage, scoring a hat-trick when he netted the game-winner with only 10 seconds left in the final overtime period.
Loyd Djirosse scored one and Louis Sehr netted two goals for the Raiders, but some defensive lapses proved to be FA’s downfall.
On Monday, the Raiders dug themselves out of an early 2-0 hole to tie the game at two, and then again at 3-3, before moving ahead 4-3, only to be tied at 4-4 after regulation time. In the back and forth battle, Djirosse scored once, along with Armel Maloji, and Sehr collected a hat-trick, including the game-winner in the first minute of OT.
In Wednesday's rematch, the Vikings were totally outshot and out-possessed by the Raiders, but still managed to sneak out of town with a victory. Coach Bob Hodgman-Burns told his team, "the only way they can score on us is off the counter (attack)." Yet Raider backs got caught too far forward on occasions which led to conceding goals against the run of play. Hodgman-Burns ("HB" to his players) took his share of the responsibility, admitting, "I need to coach them up." Raiders goal scorers on the afternoon were Sehr and sophomore Bryce Richardson, scoring his first varsity goal.
Cited by Coach HB for strong showings so far have been senior captain and center back Will Galligan, alongside classmate Aidan McLaughlin on the back line, Senior midfielder Kyeni Musembi, sophomore speedster Jacob Adams and twin juniors, JoJo and Denali Jensen.
But most importantly, HB reports that "overall I am just grateful that they can actually get out there and play, especially for the seniors."
A full week of play concludes with an away match at Gray-New Gloucester (2-3) on Thursday (results not known as of press time), and a Friday night under the lights at Poland (0-4).
Looking ahead, HB is hopeful that the maximum allowable 10 games will be played by the Raiders. He noted his admiration for Athletic Director Sue Thurston, whose scheduling efforts have been yeoman, with constant cancellations, postponements and reschedulings. Coach HB is hopeful to get another shot at the Lakers, and perhaps another with G-NG and possibly, a state-line rivalry match against the Kennett Eagles. The only fixture appearing on the current Raiders’ schedule is a third contest hosting Oxford Hills on Oct. 29.