SOUTH CHINA — Erskine Academy boys soccer coach Phil Hubbard wasn’t totally disappointed following his team’s 1-1 tie against Waterville on Thursday.

After all, the visiting Purple Panthers held a territorial edge for most of the game and took a 1-0 lead on John Terhune’s goal with 18 minutes, 35 seconds left in regulation. The Eagles tied the game with 6:45 left on one of their few scoring chances when Nick Gayer corralled a loose ball on the right side and buried a hard shot into the left corner of the goal.

Both teams are 4-2-3 in the Class A division of the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference.

“That’s the best team from back to front that we’ve seen all season,” Hubbard said. “I think they’ve done a very good job of connecting. We were on our heels for a lot of the game.”

Waterville controlled play for most of a scoreless first half but never finished its opportunities. Erskine goalkeeper Jared Gartley, who had 11 saves, came up with a big one as he came out his goal to stymie lightning-quick striker Danilo Guthro.

The Panthers continued their attack in the second half, eventually scoring off their fourth corner kick of the half. Junior Kaleb Kane launched the kick to the far right post and Terhune, a senior, headed it in.

“I was just trying to make something happen,” said Terhune, who started his run at the goal from the top of the penalty circle. “It’s something I practice a lot. It was a great ball.”

The Eagles continued to play hard despite falling behind and began to generate some scoring chances. Leading scorer Tyler Adams fired a hard shot that was deflected by a Waterville defender.

“Erskine is a tough bunch of guys,” Waterville coach Kerry Serdjenian said. “They really hustle. They never gave up. I guess we’ve just got to finish earlier.”

A couple of minutes later, the ball squirted out of a scrum of players to Gayer, who blasted a clean shot from 15 yards past keeper Zach Disch (four saves).

“I think it was a header that came right to my feet,” Gayer said. “The goal looked open so I just struck it and it went in.”

Disch wasn’t tested as often as Gartley was but he made the save of the game with 3:30 left when he dived to clear Gayer’s header off a throw-in. Neither team produced much in either of the five-minute overtime periods. Waterville gained two corners but managed just one shot on Gartley. Adams had a partial breakaway in the first overtime but fired wide and high over the goal.

“I think his legs were getting worn down,” Hubbard said. “They defended very well, too.”

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

[email protected]

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