SOUTH CHINA — The Winslow boys soccer team is passing its early season tests with flying colors.

Coming off a tightly contested 2-1 loss against defending Class C champion Maranacook, the Black Raiders bounced back with a 2-0 win over Erskine in a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B match Saturday.

Winslow (4-1-1) made the most of its early offensive opportunities Saturday. Jimmy Fowler scored both goals for the Black Raiders, which came within 20 seconds of each other in the first half. His first shot was originally stopped by Erskine goalie Denver Cullivan, but Cullivan bobbled the ball and it landed in the net to give the Black Raiders a 1-0 lead.

Fowler was able to bank in his second goal seconds later, giving Winslow the 2-0 lead.

“That was so big (to get an early lead),” Fowler said. “It was nice that we got to play against a good team (before Erskine). We just knew to come out hard, because Maranacook came out hard and we had to adjust to that. We were pumped for this game, because we knew (Erskine would) be a tough team. It’s the only time we’re playing them this season (so) we knew it was big for the Heal points. They’re going to be a good team that wins a lot of games.”

The rest of the game was a battle of possession. Erskine (4-2-0) had opportunities but failed to finish. The Eagles’ closest chance to score came early in the first half, when Trevor Hubbard sent a shot that fell just short of the net. Takoda McGraw then just missed on the rebound. Erskine outshot Winslow 9-4.

“We had a couple missed opportunities down (by the goal),” Erskine coach Phil Hubbard said. “We just couldn’t get anything in off our throw-ins. (Winslow) had kids that got their heads on the ball every single time, and we have big guys.”

Aside from the loss to Maranacook on Thursday and a 3-3 tie to rival Waterville on Sept. 8, the Black Raiders have jumped out to strong starts. In six games, Winslow has averaged over four goals per game offensively.

“It’s good to get tested,” Winslow coach Aaron Wolfe said. “Sometimes throughout the season you need to take your lumps, you need to play. You need to see what it takes to beat the top teams. (Erskine) has played — as well as us — a stretch of tough games and it helps during playoff time.”

The Black Raiders have a chance to gain revenge on the Purple Panthers on Saturday in Winslow, while also playing familiar regular season foes in Mount View and Maine Central Institute. The Black Raiders beat the Mustangs 5-0 in the season opener on Sept. 4 and beat the Huskies 6-0 on Sept. 12.

The win over Erskine helped boost the Black Raiders’ confidence, Fowler said.

“Before, we were kind of upset, kind of low, because we tied Waterville,” Fowler said. “We had a bad game against them…We knew we had to greatly bring it to Maranacook. When we played a really close game and actually pulled ahead, we knew that we were just as good as any team, and any team can win. We realized our potential and we started to work better as a team and made sure we brought it today.”

The Eagles — who jumped out to a 4-0-0 start to the season — have a tough test looming in Maranacook on Tuesday.

“You need these games to get ready,” Hubbard said. “It’s just six games in. Look at Oceanside last year. I think they lost six or seven games last season and they made it to the finals, even at the end of the season they were losing games. You get hot at the right time, you use (these game) to get yourself ready.”

Dave Dyer — 621-5639

[email protected]

Twitter: @Dave_Dyer

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