HAMPDEN - The 5-1 score certainly didn't provide an accurate indication of the effort turned in by the Dexter High School Tigers in their loss to North Yarmouth Academy in their state Class C schoolboy soccer final at the Hampden Academy field Saturday morning. But the classy Tigers readily admitted they ran into a finely tuned team with exceptional skill.
"They out-talented us," said Dexter senior midfielder and captain Brandon Woodman. "They dominated the midfield. Number 10 [Harry Hanson], number five [Taylor Gorman] and number nine [Scott Carpenter] did a great job." Tiger senior back and captain Brad Lavin added, "They were the best team we played all year, by far. They were a great passing team." Both teams wound up 15-2-1.
NYA, which won its first state title since 2002, had 29 shots at goal to Dexter's 11.
The Tigers used their quickness and work ethic to stay within striking distance, but Carpenter's second goal of the game finished off a four-pass build-up with just 1:11 left in the first half to give the Panthers some breathing room at 2-0. Gorman put the game away 10 minutes into the second half with his first of two goals.
Gorman's goal came six minutes after Dexter sophomore Ethan Woodman drove a powerful 35-yarder off the crossbar.
"Coach [Josh Muscadin] told us at halftime that we needed to get that third goal. He said 2-0 was the most dangerous lead for a team because if they got the next goal, they were right back in it," said sophomore Gorman. "That third goal pushed us up over the hump."
Gorman accepted a pass from Kevin Catir in the middle of the field, took one touch, turned, and rifled his unstoppable knee-high 25-yard shot past diving sophomore goalie Chris Eastman into the corner to Eastman's left.
"The sun had just come out and was in [Eastman's] his eyes. I tried to hit it low to a corner. I got lucky and it went in," said Gorman. Eastman said, "I just [barely] missed it."
Gorman praised the Tigers. "They fought hard the whole game. They were a good team. They definitely competed with us today," he said.
Seven minutes later, Hanson scored when his 25-yarder hit a Dexter defender and changed directions.
Dan Beatham scored for Dexter when he ran on to Aaron Woodman's free kick and shouldered the ball through NYA goalie Alex Pilitsis, who collided with him. Gorman capped the scoring with 10:08 left when a Peter Lowell shot landed at his feet in the penalty area and he steered the ball past Eastman.
Carpenter opened the scoring 16:53 into the game when he took a pass from Taki Pilitsis, turned, and struck a 22-yarder with his left foot that slipped between Eastman's legs. "I was trying to hit it far post but I mis-hit it," grinned Carpenter. "I had my legs closed, but it went right through," said Eastman, who finished with 11 saves.
Carpenter's next one was beautifully set up by Lowell's diagonal pass following a passing sequence involving Catir, Taki Pilitisis, and Hanson.
Carpenter was unattended at the far post. "I saw the defender coming out on the far post, so I didn't want to hit it there. He [Eastman] gave me a little of the near post, so I just tried to put it there. He got a tip on it and it deflected it into the side netting," said Carpenter.
Alex Pilitsis and Travis Kroot weren't required to make a save but Dexter sophomore Rick Stewart made a number of impressive runs and had five of Dexter's 11 shots at goal.
Sweeper Sean Lynch anchored NYA's defense.
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