FRYEBURG — The Fryeburg Academy boys’ soccer team picked up its first points of the young season with a hard-fought 1-1 overtime draw on the road at Gray-New Gloucester, a venue that has perennially been a nemesis for the Raiders.
“It was a good result, a fair result,” said Coach Bob Hodgman-Burns. “I didn’t know what to expect against them. It’s always been a tough game at their place and we’ve not had a lot of success there recently.”
The draw lifted Fryeburg to 0-1-1 in Western Maine play.
Gray slipped to 2-0-1 on the campaign after opening the season looking like an offensive juggernaut with a 5-0 win against Wells on Sept. 3, and a 6-1 victory over Lake Region on Sept. 7.
The Raiders were thrown a curveball 20 minutes before kickoff when senior goalie Liam Friberg was injured. Instead of going with freshman Aidan Clement between the posts, H-B found another last-minute replacement.
“We went with Geri Daiu (a sophomore), who told me he had played goalie in Austria for two years,” Hodgman-Burns said. “He made some pretty nice plays in net and looked pretty solid. He commanded the back well.”
H-B said his side looked completely different from the one that opened with a 4-0 loss at York three days earlier.
“The difference was night and day between the first match and Friday,” he said. “I think we got a lot better fairly quickly. We had a good practice the day before with a series of 10-minute games which gave the guys a better feel for playing together.”
Fryeburg got off to a terrific early start when senior Lenny Foe-Essissia found the back of the net with a cracking effort.
“Lenny hit a rocket from 25 yards out into the upper right-hand corner,” said Hodgman-Burns. “It was a nice strike.”
The Raiders carried the 1-0 lead into intermission and late into the contest.
“Defensively, we played well,” Hodgman-Burns said. “We double-teamed (Gray senior) Josh Michaud, (who had been billed by the Portland Press Herald as one of 25 players to watch in Southern Maine after scoring 17 goals two years ago as a sophomore). I thought we pressed pretty well.”
The Patriots carried the play for the final 15 minutes and drew level four minutes from time on a goal by Even Knedler.
“It was one of those games where both teams were hoping no one would put another one in,” Hodgman-Burns said. “It would have been a tough one for either side to lose. I was really pleased with the result. I don’t think either team deserved to lose this one. It was a fair result.”
Hodgman-Burns praised the play of Bernard Barraom in the midfield; Dana Hamlin and Graham Blood in the back four along with Roy Mugabe and Marcos Barrionueva, who made the switch to defense for the injured Liam Patterson.
The junior varsity squad set the tone for the night with a 3-0 victory, giving Coach Sean Chase his first “W” at the helm.
“We had a lot of support,” said Hodgman-Burns. “My guys on the bench were on their feet the whole second half. They were into the JV match, too.”
The Raiders are scheduled to play their third road match on the trot this Thursday with a 6 p.m. tilt at Wells (0-2).
The Warriors fell 5-0 at Gray and 2-0 to North Yarmouth (2-1) on Saturday.
Fryeburg is slated to play its home opener on Saturday at 11 a.m. when rival Lake Region comes to town for the annual local derby. This was supposed to be the season-opener for both clubs but the Sept. 3 match was postponed after the Lakers at a run in with COVID.
Lake Region is 1-1 after losing to Gray 6-1 on Sept. 7, but defeated (0-3) Poland 5-1 in Poland Springs, Maine, on Saturday behind a hat trick by Jacob Chadbourne.