Erskine’s Caleb Cyr, left, and Brady Kirkpatrick, center, get tangled up with Cony’s Gabriel Biasuz during a boys soccer game Thursday in South China. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

SOUTH CHINA — The midway point of the season came and went Thursday afternoon, with both sides choosing to take the wide view in lieu of the final scoreline.

Sophomore Holden McKenney’s goal in the 61st minute was all the Erskine Academy boys soccer team needed to remain perfect on the season, as the Eagles grabbed a 1-0 win over Cony in a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B contest. With the victory, Erskine improved to  7-0-0, having already played each team they’ll see the rest of the way at least once.

To say the least, confidence is high.

“There’s always a little bit of (doubt) there, but we’ve had games like this all year,” McKenney said. “It just works out in some way or another. We just believe it’s always going to come out in our favor.”

But, that confidence isn’t too high.

Erskine has faced challenges both on and off the pitch. There’s the physical, quick brand of soccer the Rams played Thursday, one that matched Erskine’s pace and intensity to nearly see the match clear to a positive result. And then there are injuries, like the two suffered to starters Sam Boynton and Jack Blais at Leavitt earlier this week, leaving Erskine coach Carrie Larrabee needing to fill significant voids.


“The record we had coming into this game lets them play with a different confidence and patience,” Larrabee said. “We took a huge hit at Leavitt. There were already challenges coming into this game. I don’t think we’re overlooking anything.”

Erskine’s Chase Larrabee, left, knocks the ball away from Cony’s Cohen Parker during a boys soccer game Thursday in South China. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Though scoreless through the hour mark, Erskine netted the lone goal of the afternoon when senior Wes McGrew lofted a long shot from 35 yards out. Cony keeper Brennan Madore tipped the shot off the crossbar, but the ball bounced straight onto the foot of an unmarked McKenney in the six-yard box.

McKenney struck it home for the easiest finish he might have in his entire career.

“That was really best-case scenario. You see the ball coming in, and you hope for the best and just go for it,” McKenney said. “Usually, that’s (Boynton’s) job, but I had to step up. Somebody has to do it.”

“Sometimes I see the ball rolling back and I think, ‘That would be a good shot,’” McGrew said. “My team knows well enough to follow the shots, and Holden was there like he was supposed to be.”

First-year Cony coach Marcelo Biasuz liked his team’s effort but believed the goal could have been avoided.


“I think we played well, we played with some intensity,” Biasuz said. “That goal we took, it was just a distraction goal. It was one mistake on our pass, and that’s what happened. It’s good for it to happen now, so they can learn from the mistake and move on.”

Cony’s Martin Ferrusca, left, and Erskine’s Noah Crummett fight for the ball during a boys soccer game Thursday in South China. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Still, with a young roster and low numbers, Biasuz took stock of where the Rams are at for now — and for the future.

“We have a young generation coming forward to help,” Biasuz said. “We want the results, too, but the result is the consequence of the process and how we play the game. That’s what we focus on.”

Where youth and inexperience have impacted the Rams, Erskine runs the opposite end of the spectrum. The Eagles boast seven seniors and seven juniors on the roster.

McGrew thinks that is paying off for Erskine in a season that has, at least so far, gone according to plan.

“The team chemistry is the best I’ve seen here at Erskine in my four years,” McGrew said. “This is the most close-knit team I’ve seen, and I think our bonding helps us out. Our attitude and mentality is always where it needs to be before every game — regardless of who we’re playing.”

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