WATERVILLE — Prior to kick-off Thursday afternoon, Hall-Dale High School boys soccer coach Andy Haskell joked that Thomas College was becoming his side’s adopted home away from home.

Truth be told, it’s a perfect fit for the No. 3 Bulldogs, who used a lethal combination of speed and organization to cruise to a 3-0 win over No. 6 Lisbon in a Class C South quarterfinal on Smith Field’s artificial surface. Hall-Dale (13-1-1) advances to host Traip Academy, an upset winner over reigning regional champion Monmouth, on Saturday at a time to be determined.

“They’re fast all around,” said Lisbon coach Dan Sylvester, whose team was held without a shot on target against Hall-Dale. “They’re tough to match up with, especially out here on a big turf field like this… I don’t know if it was the turf or their speed. We were trying to do the right things, but it was the pace for us.”

It was clear from the outset that Smith Field best suits the Bulldogs’ collective skill set. Hall-Dale started on the front foot and never lifted, enjoying the lion’s share of the possession and peppering Greyhound goalkeeper Jonah Sautter (15 saves) with one opportunity after another by utilizing quickness on a slick, fast track.

Twice in a span of three minutes inside the first 20 minutes of play, sophomore striker Josh Nadeau found teammates for goals to build a 2-0 Hall-Dale lead. In the 15th minute, senior Alec Byron opened the scoring by nodding home Nadeau’s free kick from the left touchline, followed by Beaux Vachon on 18 minutes when he headed in a Nadeau corner.

“The last couple of practices, me, Tyler (Nadeau) and Eli (Smith) have gone and practiced those on the other side of our field every day,” Nadeau said. “We’re getting pretty good at them.”

Staked to the early two-goal lead in a driving rain, Hall-Dale let the turf go to work for it. A diamond formation among the back four, with Vachon at the top, never let Lisbon (8-5-2) generate any attack through the midfield. Each time the Bulldogs won a ball there, it was quickly played out to the wide areas and Hall-Dale was off on the counter-attack yet again.

“We really wanted to keep the midfield compact,” Haskell said. “We knew if (Lisbon) could string a few passes together and break us down a little bit, they would have an opportunity. Maybe we’d make a late foul and they’d get a free kick outside, and that’s where they’re dangerous is on those still-ball situations. We kept that to a minimum.”

Instead, it was Hall-Dale who proved lethal off set pieces.

“We did a real good job on our still-ball pieces,” Haskell said. “We just have the right guys, and they’re competitive. They like to score goals.”

Hall-Dale wasn’t content to sit on its lead. As good as it was in the attacking third over the first 40 minutes, it was even better in the second stanza. After putting 10 shots on Sautter as they pushed for the equalizer, Nadeau finally capped an emphatic victory, running onto Akira Warren’s service from the left wing and one-touching it home for the 3-0 lead in the 78th minute.

“It feels pretty good,” Nadeau said. “We could have scored more goals, and as we get later into the season we have to capitalize on those opportunities.”

The third goal, even if the contest appeared decided early on for a Lisbon team that was shut out four times and held to one goal or fewer eight times over its final nine regular season games, punched the Bulldogs’ ticket to the regional semis.

“We talked about it, 2-0 isn’t where you want to be,” Sylvester said. “You’re looking for that third goal. I told the guys, if we can get one — the first time we played them, I thought we had a couple more opportunities. This time, it was a little more difficult.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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