READFIELD — Maranacook coach Mike Morin turned to his assistant a few minutes into his soccer team’s playoff game against Gray-New Gloucester and said ‘No. 18 has a long throw, make a note of that.’ “

No. 18 belonged to Patriots sophomore Maria Valente and her long throws from the sideline into the goalmouth had a dramatic effect on Gray-New Gloucester’s 4-0 win Tuesday night.

Three of Valente’s throw-ins led directly to Gray-New Gloucester goals, including an own goal off a Maranacook defender.

“Her throw-in is quite impressive and we’ve worked to get on the end of as many of them as we can,” Gray-New Gloucester coach Kiaran McCormack said. “She always causes a lot of chaos and havoc in the box.”

The sixth-seeded Patriots (5-6-4) advance to play the winner of Tuesday night’s Yarmouth/Falmouth game in a Western Class B semifinal Saturday while No. 3 Maranacook finishes at 7-4-4.

Most of the scoreless first half was played at midfield with neither team generating many scoring chances. But the second half belonged to the Patriots, who put 12 shots on goal to one for the Black Bears. Senior Taylor Darnell scored the only goal Gray-New Gloucester would need a little over six minutes into the half when she headed in Valente’s throw-in.

“Once they scored that first goal, we kind of repositioned and tried to be a little more offensive,” Morin said. “I think that probably didn’t play to our advantage.”

The Black Bears have been a defensive team all season, recording 10 shutouts, including four scoreless ties.

“We knew that Maranacook would play a certain way,” McCormack said. “If we came out with a good intensity in the second half, once we got one goal, we would be able to get a second goal.”

The second goal came two minutes later following another throw-in from Valente. This time the ball deflected off a defender and Julia Martell kicked it into the goal.

“It just came naturally to me,” Valente said of her throw-ins. “I never really practiced it or anything.”

Ashley Moreau upped the lead to 3-0 when she took a short pass from Michaela MacDonald and hit a well-placed shot into the upper right corner of the goal. The Patriots scored their final goal, appropriately, when Valente’s throw-in bounced off a defender into the goal.

“It was a huge factor in this game,” Morin said. “That girl can throw the ball. Those throw-ins killed us.”

Maranacook goalkeeper Elizabeth D’Angelo finished with 11 saves while Gray-New Gloucester’s Sammie Wilkins made two.

“We’ll have everybody back but two next year so we’ll do all right,” Morin said.

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

[email protected]

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