September 20, 2020
Bio Latest Posts Latest posts by Mike Mandell (see all) MPA approves golf, XC, field hockey, soccer; football, volleyball moved to spring – September 10, 2020 Mike MandellMike Mandell is the sports editor at The Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander. He began working for The American in August 2016. You can reach him via email at [email protected] Ellsworth runners compete in virtual Boston Marathon – September 16, 2020 Hospice volunteers help families navigate grief and find hope – September 12, 2020 ELLSWORTH — Competing in the alumni game is never an easy task for Ellsworth’s varsity soccer team. This year’s edition was especially difficult.Sure, the alumni team usually wins this game. Some haven’t played in a while, but they make up for that with their added experience and the fact that they’re closer to their athletic peaks. On this occasion, the varsity players were at yet another disadvantage: Ellsworth legend Brian Higgins, their former coach, was coaching the opposition.Though it had strong moments throughout the match, the Ellsworth varsity soccer team couldn’t defeat its veteran counterparts Friday night. Two early goals from Zach Emeigh gave Higgins’ team an advantage, and the alumni never looked back in a 5-1 victory.“It’s one thing to be playing guys who are older than you, but you also have coach Higgins there on the other side,” said former player and current Ellsworth Athletic Director Josh Frost, who played 20 minutes of the match for the alumni team. “They don’t want to let him down.”Ellsworth varsity player Jack Lee gains possession of the ball during the first half of the Ellsworth boys’ soccer team’s alumni game Aug. 19 in Ellsworth.PHOTO BY MIKE MANDELLThis is placeholder textThis is placeholder textThe alumni team has often faced roster shortages in the past, but that can be overcome with the right amount of experience and athleticism. There were no such issues Friday, and there was little the varsity team could do to stop the onslaught.“We had like 20 guys here tonight, so people can sub in and out all the time,” Frost said. “There have been years where we could barely find enough 11 guys to put on the field, but everyone wanted to be here for coach Higgins tonight.”Emeigh scored the opening goal with 31 minutes, 4 seconds remaining in the first half and doubled the lead less than six minutes later. The alumni team added another six minutes later and scored again with 1:30 left in the half to take a 4-0 lead.In the second half, Travis Coffin added the alumni team’s final goal at the 25:31 mark. It looked as if the varsity side would go home goalless until Brad Smith capitalized on a one-on-one situation with the goalkeeper to score with just over 14 minutes left.Few in the crowd expected a different result, but some did find solace in the varsity team’s performance.“They communicated better throughout the match, and their passing looked good,” said Laura Dyer, whose son, Logan, scored the alumni team’s third goal of the match. “The defense could have been a bit better, but there’s a lot they can take away from this.”New varsity coach Paul Lock’s team was far from perfect — the final score showed as much — but it did end the match with a slew of chances on goal that it hadn’t gotten earlier. The reward was a goal that pleased Ellsworth’s new coach.“We did better and better as the game went on,” Lock said. “We were nervous at first, but our guys learned from (the alumni team’s) demeanor and were able to figure out the right adjustments.”Ellsworth’s first game will be at home against the Caribou Vikings at 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 3. The Eagles are hoping to improve on last season’s campaign, which ended in a 2-1 loss to Erskine in the Class B regional title game.