AUGUSTA — Someone may have reminded the Oxford Hills boys soccer team at halftime that it hadn’t reached the postseason in 13 years.

The Vikings responded to that challenge with four goals in the second half en route to a 4-1 win against Cony in front of a couple hundred fans under the lights at Alumni Field.

This was the regular-season finale for both teams and with the ninth and final playoff berth in Eastern Maine Class A on the line for each club, the intensity on the field was palpable.

“We came in with a really nice playoff mindset that these guys have had all year,” Oxford Hills senior midfielder Matt Beauchesne said. “Winning the right games put us in this position.”

Beauchesne broke a scoreless tie with the first of two goals in the opening 30 seconds of the second half, when he hit a ball from 25 yards that beat Cony goalkeeper Brandon Elwell to the lower left corner.

“Among other things at halftime the focus was more shots, more wet balls skipping by the goalie,” Beauchesne said. “Hit from far and hit it low and let it do what it does.”

The Rams (4-9-1) answered a minute later when freshman Jeff Bilodeau ran through a 50/50 ball and beat a defender to the left corner. He crossed perfectly to Juan Antonio Dogre who volleyed the ball into the net to tie the score.

Beauchesne scored again five minutes later, taking advantage of a defensive mistake. He blasted a shot that was stopped by a defender but put home the rebound to make it 2-1. The game was delayed shortly thereafter for 30 minutes after a jagged bolt of lightning lit the south end of the field.

The Vikings (5-9-0) came out flying after the delay and got a goal from sophomore Andrew Fleming who headed in a corner kick from Blake Slicer to make it 3-1.

“The boys have worked all season to play to feet and play as a team,” Oxford Hills coach Chris Morin said. “They came out in the second half to prove their hard work was worth it.”

Cony lost senior midfielder Bronson Kieltyka just before the Vikings third goal when he sustained a cut to his forehead and didn’t return.

His loss plus the goal took a little life out of the Rams. Both teams grew chippy after that and five yellow cards were issued, three to the Rams and two to the Vikings.

Forward Joey Gallant capped the scoring with a late goal, beating  a defender and Elwell to make it 4-1. Both goalies made stellar saves in an up-and-down contest. Elwell finished with eight on 23 Oxford Hills shots while Vikings keeper Jake Beauchesne made nine of 14 Cony shots.

The Vikings  play at No. 8 Mt. Blue in a tournament prelim game on Saturday.

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638
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