FARMINGDALE — This was supposed to be a rebuilding year.

The Hall-Dale High School boys soccer team won the Western Maine Class C title last season, but entered 2013 with a number of questions after 14 players graduated. Questions answered.

The Bulldogs advanced to their second straight Western C title game with a 2-0 win over St. Dominic on Saturday afternoon at Hall-Dale High School.

“There is some surprise on my part, but I feel like we play much better as a team this year,” Hall-Dale senior Konnor Longfellow said.

Longfellow scored both goals for No. 1 Hall-Dale, which improved to 16-0-0 and advances to play Maranacook in the regional final at 2 p.m. Wednesday. St. Dominic, which lost to Hall-Dale for the third time this season, ends at 12-1-1.

After a scoreless first half, Hall-Dale changed its defensive formation and benefitted offensively. Hall-Dale coach Andy Haskell said the Bulldogs continued to play a defensive-minded scheme, but moved Longfellow to a more central location on the field to get him scoring opportunities.

“We changed our formation up because they were really controlling the outside flank,” Haskell said. “We switched back to one of our formations we like to use. And I thought the first five or 10 minutes of the second half we started to play our game and the chances started to come.”

The move worked as Longfellow was able to break free and give the Bulldogs’ the lead with 29 minutes, 48 seconds left in the game. Josh Peterson made a long pass to Longfellow, who was able to get behind the defense and slip a shot past St. Dom’s goalie Ben Sawyer. Longfellow made it 2-0 on another breakaway, this time taking a pass from Nat Crocker and scoring with 9:07 remaining.

St. Dom’s nearly took a 1-0 lead in the first half when Cameron Stewart ripped a shot from about 40 yards out that hit the far right post just under the cross bar with about four minutes left.

Hall-Dale also had a quality scoring chance when Ryan Branscom ripped a shot from in close, that Sawyer made a diving stop on.

“I thought we kind of wore them down in the second half,” Haskell said. “It was really good team play.”

Hall-Dale beat St. Dominic 1-0 in the regular season and 4-1 in the Mountain Valley Conference championship game.

Scott Martin — 621-5618[email protected]

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