AUGUSTA — Two sides that needed all the points instead had to settle for splitting them Wednesday afternoon.

The Cony and Erskine boys soccer teams, each dangling tenuously to hopes of a postseason berth, played to a 0-0 draw in a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference crossover match. The Rams (3-6-1) are currently outside the Class A North playoff structure with four games remaining, while the Eagles (3-6-2) entered the day 13th in Class B North with three to play. The top 14 teams in B North qualify for the tournament.

“It was a big game for either one of us, fighting for those playoff positions,” Erskine coach Carrie Larrabee said. “It was certainly a disappointing tie.”

Wednesday was a microcosm of each team’s season. Each was organized, each was difficult to break down defensively and neither conceded much to the other through the midfield.

But the attacking third was a problem for both sides, with Cony getting shots while being unable to put a high percentage of them on frame and Erskine settling too often for weak bids from distance.

“We did a good job communicating, and at times we did a good job of possessing the ball and playing our game — because that is our game,” Cony coach Jon Millett said. “Those two aspects of the game I’m very happy with. But we still need to get better at finishing. That is our Achilles heel. If we could finish, we’d be in a very different place than where we are right now.”


Cony attempted seven shots in the first half but landed only two on frame, one of them off a free kick. The first four Ram shots after the intermission forced Eagle keeper David McGraw to make saves, but their final seven attempts sailed high or wide.

The attacking element may have been less than inspiring, but Cony senior center back Ian Bowers more than made up for that. He twice cleared Erskine shots off his own goal line — including one in the 79th minute to ensure the game would see extra time.

Travis Dow found a ball on his feet in the right side of the penalty area and beat Ram keeper Joao Benoini with a clever touch — but his low bouncing shot was steered wide by Bowers as it approached the final foot to goal.

“I just ran back,” Bowers said. “I knew I had it. I just had to time it. I didn’t want to trip over myself getting there or something.”

Bowers did it again two minutes into the extra session, again on Dow, though this time the ball wasn’t as close to the line.

“Ian has an incredible field sense and presence on the field,” Millett said. “Having a player like him is indescribable. His value is immeasurable, but he’s also got a very symbiotic relationship with Simon (McCormick) back there in the middle. They work really well together, and I doubt there’s a team that has a better center backfield than we do. They’re just so good.”


“I feel like strikers, or those kids who want to score goals, are just intrinsically motivated, like they’re just born with something and that’s what they want to do,” Larrabee said. “We just don’t have that. We’re looking for somebody with that spark.”

Benoini made four saves to earn the shutout, his third of the season, for Cony.

McGraw made seven saves for his fourth clean sheet of the year, including a leaping stop on Miqueas Biasuz’s free kick from 20 yards early in the first half.

“Sometimes when you don’t see as many shots, it’s hard to get into that groove,” McGraw said. “For us, I think we just need to crash (the goal) a lot harder, we can easily get those scrappy goals out of the back side.”

McGraw was also up to the challenge on Bowers’ headed attempt from 15 yards out on a corner kick midway through the second half.

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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