Dexter, ME– In soccer, dead ball situations can be the difference in a game.
Dexter Tigers coach Jody Grant credits assistant coach David Wilks for making sure the Tigers are prepared for those situations.
“I am going to give coach Wilks a lot of credit. He has hounded me for two years about dead ball situations. He does a good job teaching them.” Grant said. “As a coach I have to give him all the credit. We work with them before games, we work on them in practice. That is one of the things he (Wilks) does really well.”
That preparation paid off on Tuesday afternoon. Lauren Crane converted two Abbie Melvin corner kicks into header goals to lead the Tigers to a 5-0 victory over the Foxcroft Ponies.
“We do dead ball situations every practice. When we were warming up today that same thing happened except I ducked out of the way because I was scared to hit it,” Crane said. “So it was kind of ironic that it happened twice in the game.”
Melvin started taking corner kicks last season.
“Abbie (Melvin) was just fantastic. She only had one out of 10 or 12 that was not playable. It is something she has taken pride in,” Grant said. “She has done a nice job with that.”
Melvin added, “I took a few (corner kicks) last year. That is where it started. They are getting better each time.”
The Tigers made a few minor adjustments after a scoreless first half. The Tigers scored all five goals in the first 20 minutes of the second half.
“A lot of the defenses that we play against, we want the ball to go to the outside. That is the open space,” Grant said. “They (Foxcroft) played flat four in the back. We didn’t do a good job understanding that in the first half, realizing we needed to play it more to the middle instead of the outside. We got that taken care of at halftime. Tiny adjustment there. It gave us a lot of opportunities in the second half to score.”
Melvin added, “We needed to play more to the inside. Once we did that we had a good push.”
The Melvin and Crane connection got the scoring started just 2:08 into the second half. Tasha Pratt gave the Tigers a 2-0 lead with 33:22 remaining.
Crane scored her second goal with 25:59 on the clock. Just three minutes later, Bobby Chambers gave the Tigers a 4-0 lead.
Abbey Jordan finished off the scoring with 20:56 remaining.
The game being scoreless at halftime may not seem like a positive. It is a huge positive for a young Ponies team that is trying to build confidence.
“I think we are working on progressing into each game without letting goals in. We have not played a game yet where we have not let any goals in the first five minutes,” Foxcroft coach Whitney Sinclair said. “Today we made it through the whole first half. Which is a big difference for us. That should be a big confidence booster. Now we just need to push it through the second half.”
Foxcroft has had a tough schedule to start the season. The Ponies first five opponents have a combined record of 21-4.
“The scores are not reflecting on how the girls are doing. They are progressing,” Sinclair said. “Like everyone thought, this is going to be a building year. Hopefully we can surprise a few teams and get a few wins.”
The Tigers have won five straight since a 3-0 loss to Orono on September 4th.
“There are some good teams in the league. It is kind of cliche to say we are taking it one game at a time, but that is what we do,”Crane said. “We have the potential to be a championship contender.”
Laura Shorey had 14 saves on 35 shots for the Ponies. Foxcroft (0-5) will next play on Saturday, September 22nd when they host Washington Academy. Game time is scheduled for 1 p.m.
Crane, MacKenzie McKusick and Macie Melvin each had one assist for the Tigers. Alison Pease made two saves on three shots.
Dexter (6-1) will next play on Thursday, September 20th when they host George Stevens. Game time is scheduled for 4 p.m.