BUCKFIELD — Senior center back Denny Marble was like a pick-me-up or that first cup of coffee in the morning for the Mt. Abram Roadrunners on Friday.

The ‘Runners (10-3) were feeling a bit of jet lag after being on the road the past week. But Marble helped the defensed hold up and Mt. Abram’s offense delivered a 2-0 victory over a determined and persistent Buckfield (8-6) team in an MVC boys soccer contest.

“Buckfield is home; they know how to play here,” Mt. Abram coach Darren Allen said. “It is always tough playing on the road.

“I liked our defensive performance today. We passed the ball really well, but the defense was really good. No. 3 (Victor Verrill) for them is really good and energetic and exciting, and we kind of kept tabs on him really well. That goes to Caleb Thibodeau and Denny Marble in the back. Wyatt Sieminski and Ben Starbird and Trevor Phelps also did a really good job in the back. 

“It’s a Friday. It’s tough. We are on the road. I think we lacked some energy today. It has been a long week for us.” 

Marble liked what he saw in the second half from his teammates.

“We were getting a lot of turnovers in the middle and midfielders were countering us, but the backs did a good job being in position, getting ball back to the midfield so we could turn and go toward the other goal,” Marble said. “We were a little bit flat definitely in the first half.

“The second half, I think we came out a lot better, a lot more passes in the midfield. We connected a lot more.” 

Buckfield coach Kyle Rines also was impressed with Marble’s defense.

“I thought (our) opportunities were few and far between,” Rines said. “We applied pressure for a full 80 minutes, which is what we talked about. Mt. Abram just facilitates the ball so well. They don’t trap, possess. They will one-touch it around, which is every coach’s dream. Darren has a nice group. 

“It was kind of hard for us to possess the ball ourselves and then get something good out of it. Denny Marble totally owned the defensive backfield for them. Victor Verrill scored 22 goals this year and he didn’t see a single chance tonight, so credit Mt. Abram.”

The Roadrunners got on the board at 29:57 in the first half. Senior Tyson Hill kicked the ball into the left corner of the net with assistance from senior Jonathan Jordan. Mt. Abram’s 1-0 lead held up through halftime despite Buckfield’s relentlessness on the field.

Buckfield goalie Tyler Gammon (12 saves) frustrated the Roadrunners from time to time with several dazzing saves.

“He’s exceptional,” Rines said. “He lays it all on the line. He has really kept us in a lot of games.”

But Mt. Abram found another way to slip a goal past Gammon in the second quarter. Kenyon Pillsbury drilled the ball in and it bounced off one of the bars and into the net at 28:18, providing the Roadrunners with a 2-0 lead that stood up until the end of the game.

Mt. Abram goalie Ian Allen picked up the shutout and made eight saves. For the day, Mt. Abram outshot Buckfield 25-11.

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