BIDDEFORD – The Scots fell behind early on the road vs. the Tigers on Thursday evening, May 25. Bonny Eagle looked stronger in the second half, and the team’s tallies all came from different players, highlighting a diverse attack, but Biddeford simply controlled too much of the action, cruising to victory 15-4.
Bonny Eagle head coach Andrew Slefinger had high hopes for the game before it got underway. “Coming in, I knew they were a tough team,” he said of the Tigers. “Same last night against Massabesic. I thought it might have been one of those coin-flip games. We bring a little bit of intensity; I thought the weather might have played our way.”
The Tigers put up four to Bonny Eagle’s one (a Spencer Shields contribution) in the first quarter; they then added five more while holding the Scots totally silent in the second, giving them a 9-1 advantage at the break.
Slefinger remarked on his boys’ bad first half. “We haven’t played in these conditions all season,” he said of the wind and rain. “I think that was a little deflating for the guys, going into the game. Long bus ride here, stuck on the bus for an hour and a half while the JVs played. Like coaches always say: we never got off the bus.”
Slefinger elaborated on how the elements stymied the Scots’ play. “Our fundamentals, we struggled, the passing and catching. Understanding our systems and running our offense…It took us out of what we wanted to do, which caused us to commit turnovers, and Biddeford capitalized on all our turnovers in the first half.”
“But you can’t make excuses,” Slefinger said. “You’ve just got to play through the elements, regardless of what they are or where you are.”
Bonny Eagle slowed their hosts down a bit in the third, holding them to just three, but still couldn’t manage to light the lamp themselves. In the fourth, the Scots finally evened the action out, scoring three – Tyler Williams, Alex Dyer and Anthony Breton did the honors – to match Biddeford’s three. But of course, they would’ve needed an utterly overwhelming quarter to erase their deficit and stand a fighting chance, and they just didn’t get it.
“We kind of buried ourselves there,” Slefinger said. “And typically, when you get buried, it’s hard to dig yourself out of it. It’s been that way for the past couple games. We get that 10-, 12-goal differential and the kids start playing again. But it’s too late.”
The Scots have several very capable scorers; there’s no doubt about that. Against the Tigers, though, the team couldn’t slip its offense into gear. “The frustration,” Slefinger said. “We let ourselves down on the fundamentals, and it just deflated us.”
Slefinger speculated on how his boys’ mindset might have changed in the late going – changed, that is, in a way that allowed them jumpstart their play a bit. “Towards the end of the game, I think the kids look at the score, and they put aside their competitive side and start just playing for themselves a little bit. You want kids to play as a team, but at the same time, when a kid’s hot, you want him to stay hot.”
Slefinger offered praise for a couple of his players. First up: his goalie, James Conley, who finished with 16 saves – some of them superb. “This is our third game in a row; Tuesday we played Thornton, yesterday we played Massabesic, and here we are. But James, the TA game, made about 17 saves. Last night he made 19. He’s been great all season. Great attitude, great kid. We’ve just got to help him out a little bit more. When he makes that big save, we’ve got to transition the ball and we’ve got to settle down and run our offense.”
Slefinger also offered up a few laudatory words for one of his elder statesmen. “Highlighting the past three games: My senior defensemen, Dom Bruni, has really stepped up, shown some leadership. He runs the defense, keeps everything organized; he’s played well the past three games. Even though we’ve lost all three, he’s one of my top players.”
Bonny Eagle slipped to 3-7 on the loss, which played out at the University of New England. They faced off with South Portland on Tuesday the 30th, falling 24-11. The Scots currently sit seventh in A South. Seventh place is the last playoff spot, so the team is likely to reach the postseason, though a few final results do need to trickle in to solidify the rankings.
Adam Birt can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @CurrentSportsME.
Chandler Doustou pushes upfield for the Scots.
Scot Tyler Williams fires the ball away before a Tiger can pounce.
Scots goalie James Conley racked up an impressive 16 saves Thursday night.
Aaron Rae vies with a Biddeford opponent over a ground ball.
Bonny Eagle’s Cam Day hacks at a Biddeford attacker.
Alex Dyer, Bonny Eagle freshman middie, lays into an incoming Tiger.
Bonny Eagler Kaiden Day ties up Tiger Mitch Farley as teammate Cam Trafford swoops in to scoop up a ground ball.
Scots freshman Anthony Breton chases the action.
Scot Dom Bruni thrusts a stick out, attempting to thwart a shot by Tiger CJ Thorne. Bonny Eagle head coach Andrew Slefinger praised Bruni’s play – and not just in Thursday’s game, but throughout the season.
Spencer Shields surveys the field, looking for pass options.