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Brody Cook scores a goal in Orono’s 1-1 against Benilde. (Photo by Frank Landis)

The Orono Mens Soccer Team played another three game week, kicking off against the Benilde-St. Margarets Red Knights on Tuesday, Sept. 28.

The Red Knights came into the game with a record of 8-2-1 versus the Spartan’s record of 10-0, making Orono the team to beat. Both teams are loaded with seniors, many of whom have played with each other throughout their youth.

From the start, the two teams looked evenly matched. Play in both halves led to promising attacks from both Benilde and Orono, but neither was able to score early in the half.

Senior Matias Maule and junior Avery Anderson played strong defense, making it hard for the Red Knights to organize in Orono’s half. The scoreboard didn’t change for either team by halftime, and remained at 0-0, which reflected the equal play amongst the two teams.

The second half saw a strong Benilde team out of the gate. The Red Knights had multiple shots in the first few minutes, but the first goal of the game was not to be theirs.

In the ninth minute, Orono scored on a cross from midfielder Andy DeWitt to forward Brody Cook who was able to find the back of the net with his left foot, sending the ball into the opposite corner and putting Orono on the scoreboard with a 1-0 lead.

It would take 20 more minutes for Benilde to equalize off of a long ball to their forward who was able to beat the Spartan defense and tie up the game.

With only minutes left in the second half, Orono senior Aiden Ecker was taken down in the box, but the referee did not award the penalty, ending regulation in a 1-1 tie and forcing both teams to play two five minute overtime halves.

The first overtime half saw Benilde playing a long ball strategy that was no match for Orono’s defense. Neither team was able to score by the end of the first overtime half, which left the last five minutes of play to decide the game. Goalie Peter Nicklow made some tremendous saves, keeping Orono well within reach.

Both teams clearly wanted the win, but the score remained a 1-1 tie at the end of the second overtime. The Spartans walked away still undefeated, having played a solid game against a talented Benilde team.

The Spartans headed away to New Prague to play their second game of the week against the Trojans.

Again, Orono started the game with numerous scoring opportunities, but couldn’t convert. However, just 10 minutes into the first half, a New Prague attacker shot a ball high that forced senior goalie Peter Nicklow to jump and tip the ball over the net to make the save.

Play continued to be mostly in New Prague’s half and in the 27th minute Brody Cook slotted a ball through to Jaro Doise who scored from close range, giving Orono a 1-0 lead.

New Prague responded with multiple shots on goal from long balls and fast breaks up the right wing, but an agile Nicklow was able to keep Orono ahead going into halftime.

It didn’t take long into the second half for Orono to make it a 2-0 game, as junior Christian Kavanaugh found the net off of a long Ben Halloff throw in. Orono continued to work their way into New Pragues half, and although the Trojan defense was not making it easy, senior Halloff was able to find his way in on a fast break and end the game 3-0, Orono.

For the last game of the week, the Orono men played away at Breck on a damp morning. Orono arrived with a 11-0-1 record and were arguably the favorite against the 3-7-2 Breck Mustangs team.

The game got off to a great start for the Spartans with early chances for Andy DeWitt and Jaro Doise. In the 17th minute of the game, junior Brodie Howe was brought down by the Breck keeper in the box leading to a penalty which DeWitt scored taking the Spartans ahead 1-0.

Just three minutes later, senior Chase Eriksson scored off a rebound making it 2-0.

From that point on, the momentum gradually shifted in favor of the Mustangs who scored in the 25th minute of the first half. Breck came out strong in the second half with a goal in the 8th minute to tie the game 2-2. The rain got much heavier and the Breck supporters got much louder. In the 28th minute a Breck striker scored with a great shot from 35 yards out, and just four minutes later they found the back of the net yet again, making it 4-2 Breck at the final whistle and handing the Spartans their first loss for the 2021 season.

“This past week was a good test for us and I think it was also good for us to have a reality check, getting our first loss of the season,” coach Derek Engler said. “It will make us stronger going into sections now that we have this to build from.”

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