Boys’ soccer team knocks off Dexter and PCHS, moves to 8-3
Coach Luis Ayala’s team took care of business in rivalry games this week, defeating Dexter 7-0 at home on Tuesday and PCHS 3-2 on the road Thursday. The Ponies sit at 8-3 with three regular season games remaining and hold the #7 spot in the Class B East Heal Point standings.
The Ponies got goals from seven different players against the Tigers, with Tino Ayala, Fernando Caceres, Julian Zepeda, Justin Diamond, Nick Boyd, Dylan Harmon-Weeks, and Matt Baiamonte all finding the back of the net. Ayala, Caceres, and Zepeda each added an assist, and Logan Butera and Jared Grinnell turned away four shots to combine for the shutout.
Tino Ayala scored two more goals, running his team-leading total to 10, to help deliver FA a narrow 3-2 win in Guilford. The Ponies built a 2-0 lead in the first half on the strength of an unassisted strike from Ayala and a Blake Arno goal assisted by Diamond. Nick Boyd sprung Ayala just 35 seconds into the second half to increase the lead to 3-0, but the Pirates bounced back with two goals over the next 30 minutes to make things interesting. Butera, who saved seven shots on the night, made sure the lead held up over the final 11 minutes.
“It’s always great to get back in the winning column,” said Coach Ayala. “It’s never easy playing your rivals because no matter what their record is, they always play extra hard to beat you. I was very pleased with how we played this week, especially in Guilford. Give credit to Guilford that they never gave up and came back within a goal. The crowd was very loud and they fed off that excitement to make it close.”
The Ponies have a very challenging week ahead, as they’ll host unbeaten and top-ranked Ellsworth Tuesday at 4:00 and will travel to #3 Old Town Friday for a 3:30 tilt. “This is going to be a tough week for us, with two very good teams,” said Coach Ayala. “We are playing to get a good seed in the playoffs and maybe to host a playoff game. I don’t know the last time that we hosted a playoff game here. It would definitely be special if we did. The guys have been practicing hard and working on their conditioning to play hard for 80 minutes. That is what it’s going to take for us to win–a complete team effort.”
Photo taken by Perry Wang ’17. Click here to see more of his excellent work from the Dexter game.
Field hockey gets by Orono, ready for huge game at undefeated Dexter this afternoon
Coach Stephanie Smith’s field hockey team escaped with a 1-0 win over visiting Orono on Monday. The Ponies dominated possession throughout but failed to put one away until sophomore Alli Bourget, who has come on strong in recent weeks and now has eight goals on the season, carried the ball 40 yards and delivered the game-winner with 13 minutes remaining. Madison Chadbourne locked down the team’s 10th shutout of the season.
“I thought the girls played really well against Orono,” said Coach Smith, who always demands the best from her team. “Orono is one of those teams where their record does not reflect their discipline and knowledge of the game. That said, we need to learn to play tough throughout the whole game, no matter what situation arises. Orono was down two players in the last six minutes of the game due to yellow and red cards and we played soft. Compassion should be saved for after the game!”
The Ponies, who improved to 11-1 with the win and remain fourth in the Class C Heal Point standings, had their big showdown at Dexter rained out on Wednesday. They’ll now head to Dexter this afternoon to battle the unbeaten Tigers at 4:00 before hosting Old Town at 4:00 on Tuesday to close out the regular season.
“Today’s game certainly has the potential to make our journey in postseason play a bit easier,” added Coach Smith, “as home field advantage and a higher ranking build confidence! The top four teams are tough. It will definitely make for an interesting Eastern Maine playoff season.”
Photo of Alli Bourget taken by Daniil Grishko ’16. Click here to see more great shots from Daniil.
Ponies finish second at Riot Challenge, turn sights to postseason
Competing on a four-kilometer course at the 3rd Annual Riot Challenge Cross Country Meet in Orono, the Foxcroft boys’ scorers averaged 15:20.66 to finish second out of six teams. Cooper Nelson paced the Ponies with a time of 14:39.79 (fourth overall out of 56 runners) and was followed by Gabe Piquette (14:39.91–5th), Noah Simpson (15:09.03–11th), Liam Casey (16:05.13–20th), Nathnael Feleke (16:09.40), Hunter Giacomuzzi (17:50.85), and Ethan Poland (21:35.09). The Ponies finished behind the Orono Red Riots, who had the two fastest runners at the meet, but bested Central, Lee, Machias, and Searsport.
Jen Clawson continued to impress, running 18:04.28 to place ninth out of 46 female runners. Virginia Macomber (20.04.40–20th), Anna Sedlackova (21:55.98), and Maria Cedeno (24:51.50) also competed for the Foxcroft girls’ side.
Coach Brett Almasi, whose team will compete at the PVC Championship Meet in Bucksport on Saturday, was once again pleased with his runners’ progress. “We’re starting to look more and more like a team intent on qualifying for the state championship meet,” said Coach Almasi. “We’ve gotten better each time out, and I’m confident that that we’ll be very competitive at PVCs next week.”
Football team turns it up a notch in heartbreaking loss to undefeated Winslow
Dylan Hapworth’s two-yard touchdown run with 1:24 remaining in the game delivered unbeaten Winslow a dramatic 26-25 win over Foxcroft Academy at Oakes Field Friday night. Hapworth’s score capped a 7-play, 45-yard drive that came on the heels of Pete Boyer’s go-ahead touchdown run with just over five minutes left. The Ponies got the ball back on their own 24-yard line with 1:20 and three timeouts remaining but were unable to move the ball against a stout and fired-up Winslow defense.
The Ponies looked to be in for a long night when the Black Raiders, who came in having outscored opponents 258-35 in five blowout wins, took the opening kickoff and marched 74 yards in just four plays to open up a 7-0 lead. But Coach Danny White’s team roared back with a touchdown of its own, covering 57 yards in nine plays and knotting the game at 7-7 when quarterback Hunter Smith plunged in from the six.
The Ponies were able to take control for much of the second quarter, holding the Black Raiders to just 26 yards on the three possessions following the opening score while increasing their lead to 16-7 behind a 27-yard field goal from Nate Church and Smith’s second touchdown run. The Black Raiders were able to slice the lead to 16-14 when Bobby Chenard connected with Justin Martin for a five-yard score just nine seconds before the break.
Following a scoreless third quarter, Church’s 28-yard field goal early in the fourth extended the Pony lead to 19-14. Chenard then marched the Black Raiders down the field and hit Jacob Trask for a 26-yard score to take a 20-19 lead. The Ponies’ next drive stalled at the 50, but three plays after an excellent punt from Boyer, Clay Carroll recovered a Chenard fumble at the 11-yard line. Facing a 3rd-and-7 from the eight, Boyer steamrolled a defender on the way to his 15th rushing touchdown of the season.
In all, the Ponies held Winslow’s vaunted offensive attack to just 10 first downs and 238 yards of total offense while grinding out 17 first downs of their own and 300 total yards, all coming on the ground. Hapworth was contained to 101 yards on 20 carries while both Boyer (31 carries for 165 yards and a game-high 14 tackles) and Smith (25 rushes for 131 yards) were workhorses for the 4-2 Ponies, who will be back in action against a huge Nokomis squad Friday night at Oakes Field.
Despite the loss, it was clear that this was the best game the Ponies have played in 2014. “I couldn’t be prouder of the way we played,” said Coach White. “Going toe-to-toe with a team of that caliber is just going to build confidence and make us better.”
Photo taken by Youjin Choi ’16. Click here to see more of her great work from Friday’s game.
Ponies’ offense comes alive in tough loss to PCHS
The girls’ soccer team played with a lot of energy and passion in a 5-3 loss to visiting PCHS on Friday, scoring a season-high three goals in a game that was played at a frenetic pace from the onset. The improving Ponies have now found the back of the net six times in their last five games after failing to score a goal in the season’s first five contests.
Jenna Clukey scored her second goal of the season and picked up her second assist, Kayla McCorrison and Cassidy Panciera scored a goal each, and Grace Bickford notched two more assists to run her team-leading total to three. Joanna Panciera, Kendra Ewer, and Bernise Bartlett helped the Ponies control the middle of the field for much of the action while Alisha Thomas saved six of seven shots on goal to keep the game close. “The ladies played a great game,” said Coach Chris Wesley. “They fought hard and the light at the end of the tunnel is getting closer.”
The Ponies have a busy week ahead, as they’ll play at 7-3 Dexter Tuesday, will host 2-9 Ellsworth Wednesday, and will travel to 3-6-2 Old Town Saturday.
Photo of Jenna Clukey taken by Youjin Choi ’16. Click here to see more from the PCHS game.