SOUTH CHINA — Tyler Adams scored his first career hat trick to lift Erskine to a 5-1 win over Cony in a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A boys soccer game Saturday afternoon.

Playing against a strong wind in the first half, Erskine (2-1-0) took a 1-0 lead when Zach Isbell sent a centering pass into the box for Adams. The senior forward collected the ball and drove a low shot to the right post. Cony keeper Brandon Elwell made the initial save but the ball deflected off the right post into the goal with 17 minutes, 53 seconds left in the first half.

“We panicked a little in the first half,” Erskine coach Phil Hubbard said. “We didn’t take our time with the ball but in the second half we did a good job looking for passes and carrying the ball a little deeper.”

Cony (2-1-0), playing a high defensive line, consistently caught Erskine in an offside trap in the first half. The strategy went out the window in the second half when the teams switched ends and the Eagles were playing with the wind at their backs.

As play developed in the second half, Erskine played a ball over the top of the Cony defense, forcing the Rams to foul 25 yards from the end line in the center of the field. Adams hit a hard swerving shot around the Rams defensive wall into the far corner of the net to give Erskine a 2-0 lead at 24:20.

“I was just trying to get it on target,” Adams said. “It is something we practice every day.”

Four minutes later, Erskine’s Cameron Reed was faced with a nearly identical free shot. Reed’s ball deflected off the Rams wall and over the leaping Elwell into the goal.

“We knew coming into the season we had a lot of work to do to replace the players that graduated,” Adams said. “This was a perfect game to kick start our season.”

Less than a minute ticked off the clock when the Rams scored on a header to the back post by Mike Clark with a pass from Matt Canwell.

Adams, however, was not done with his long range shots, striking a vicious ball from 30 yards that slammed into the back of the net at 16:08.

Caleb Rivera finished off the scoring for the Eagles, at 10:21, hitting a side volley into the net off a pass from Clark.

Erskine had a 24-11 advantage in shots and goalie Jared Gartley making seven saves. Elwell made six saves.

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