FARMINGDALE — It took some time to knock off the rust, but a strong second half propelled the Hall-Dale boys soccer team past Oak Hill 3-0 in a Class C South quarterfinal Wednesday at Melvin Simmons Complex.

No. 1 Hall-Dale (14-0-1)  will meet No. 4 Maranacook in the semifinals at 7:15 p.m. Friday at Thomas College in Waterville. No. 8 Oak Hill finished 10-6-0.

Scoreless at halftime, the Bulldogs took over right at the start of the second half. With 34 minutes remaining in the game, Josh Nadeau took a shot from 25 yards away. The ball sailed over the head of Oak Hill goalie Cole Whitten and into the net for a 1-0 score.

Hall-Dale’s Ian Stebbins, left, hugs Josh Nadeau after Nadeau scored the Bulldogs’ first goal against Oak Hill in a Class C South quarterfinal game Wednesday in Farmingdale. Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan Buy this Photo

“I hit a few (from that distance) last time, I knew I could do it again,” Nadeau said. “I just hit it, and it went in.”

“(Nadeau) has risen to the occasion, every opportunity (this season),” Hall-Dale coach Jesse Rowe added.

The goal would not be Nadeau’s last. Fifteen minutes later, Akira Warren fed Nadeau a pass right in front of the net. Nadeau took the pass and tapped a shot past Whitten for a 2-0 lead.

“Akira waited for me to make a run, and he made a beautiful pass, and I just hit it in,” Nadeau said.

Warren scored the final goal of the game with two minutes left, when Hall-Dale goalkeeper Sam Sheaffer punted the ball to Warren, creating a breakaway opportunity toward the Oak Hill net.

Wednesday was Hall-Dale’s first match since the Mountain Valley Conference championship game last week. For the Bulldogs, the second half effort was a complete change from the first half of play. Though shots were fairly even, Oak Hill proved to have the stronger attack. The Raiders had four legitimate scoring chances, including an early shot by Brady Bangs that had to be punched away by Sheaffer for the save.

“Going in as a top seed, teams are going to come after you and give you their best,” Rowe said. “This is a win-or-go-home situation. Oak Hill gave us everything that we needed to see in that first half. They play the way we wanted to play in that first half.”

Sheaffer had nine saves to earn the shutout.

Oak Hill coach Bill Worth praised his team’s effort throughout the game. It was the first meeting between the two teams since Sept. 6, when Hall-Dale prevailed 5-1 in Farmingdale.

“I think the first half was very strong for us,” Worth said. “To come back (after losing the season-opener) into this game and play like we did in the first half, and for most of the second half, I’m quite happy with their effort. Hall-Dale is a good club. I think we made them work for every pass, every shot that they had.”

Whitten finished with seven saves for Oak Hill, which has continued to make steady progress during Worth’s three-year tenure as coach. Last year, Oak Hill fell in the preliminary round of the Class B South playoffs.

Oak Hill’s Caleb Leighton, left, and Hall-Dale’s Ian Stebbins battle for a ball in the Class C South quarterfinals Wednesday in Farmingdale. Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan Buy this Photo

“Most of the players on the team are seniors, I’ve been coaching them for the past couple of years,” Worth said. “The takeaways (from the season) are just the progression that these players have had over the last couple of seasons, from freshmen and sophomores, all the way up now up to seniors. I’m just proud of their work all season. Coming out, dedicated, playing in the horrible weather, showing up routinely and doing the very best they can with everything that they had.”

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