Late in the first half, looking to make something happen, Waterville senior Austin Hutchins slammed the ball from the corner to midway into the crowd collected near the Bishop Ludden goal.
Teammate and fellow senior Justin Zike launched himself horizontal, a human missile seeking to connect to the ball. He missed, the Knights cleared and the second-round Section Three Class C game remained scoreless.
The Indians made that sort of all-out effort the entire game at Ludden, but it was the Knights who came away winners with a 1-0 win to advance in the playoffs. Waterville finished their best season in years, winning 13 games, tying once and losing four times while outscoring opponents 47-14. Coach Brian Bogan’s career coaching wins stand at 187.
In a light to medium rain that fell all game, the Indians adjusted their style to playing on a smaller natural grass field slick with rainwater and mud. Just 2:10 into the game, Hutchins lined up for his first corner kick of the contest; Jaxson Sonia’s kick almost went in.
That ‘almost’ played out as the theme during the first half, as the Indians peppered the Knights goal again and again. Marco Barberi, Jeremy Lakata, Hutchins and Jacob Barth led a non-stop pressure offense that kept the action at the Ludden end for most of the opening 40 minutes.
When the home team, the No. 3 seed to Waterville’s No. 6, did send the ball to the Indians side of the field, lights out defense by Zike, Morgan Barnes, Dustin ...