SOUTH CHINA — The Eagles thought they’d done enough to secure all the points for themselves, while the Black Bears didn’t think they’d done enough to deserve anything in the way of a result.

After Tuesday’s 1-1 Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference boys soccer draw between Erskine and Maranacook, neither side was wrong.

Maranacook senior Jacob Nisby finished off a cross from teammate Luke McLaughlin in the 79th minute — just seconds after Erskine defender Sam Boynton cleared a ball off his own goal line to momentarily preserve a lead — to force the deadlock after the host Eagles held the lead for more than an hour.

“We played our hearts out in that game,” Boynton said. “We won it in every stance except for the scoreboard.”

Erskine (3-3-1) enjoyed virtually all of the play throughout, the lone exception being the first several minutes of the scoreless extra time periods. The Eagles were staked to a 1-0 lead in the 10th minute via Cooper Grondin, and they held sizable advantages in all measurable statistical categories through regulation — including shot attempts (24-13) and shots on target (15-5).

Even Boynton’s brilliantly timed leap at his own goal line to head away Nisby’s 78th-minute free kick from 23 yards wasn’t enough, however, to usher the Eagles safely across the finish line.


“It could have changed the game, but unfortunately for us it didn’t go that way,” Boynton said.

“We controlled the game for 80 percent of it, but we couldn’t finish,” Erskine coach Carrie Larrabee said. “It’s tough. It’s a bad tie in that it’s a game we should have won because we dominated but couldn’t finish, but it’s a good tie in that the Heal points are better than a loss.”

That Maranacook (5-2-1) had life late on what was something of a minor miracle, given how few chances the Black Bears were able to generate for most of the afternoon.

Maranacook goalie Brayden St. Pierre makes a save against Erskine in a boys soccer game Tuesday in South China. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

Erskine striker Holden McKenney, who hit the crossbar in the 43rd minute and whistled a pair of low shots just wide of the sticks in the opening half, combined for more dangerous opportunities himself than Maranacook did as a team.

“They outplayed us, so it’s good to have a tie,” Maranacook coach Don Beckwith said. “We didn’t play that well. We played the ball too much to space and not enough to people’s feet.”

Nisby said he never stopped believing an opportunity to cash in would come, even after being double- and triple-marked in the middle of Erskine’s back line of five.


“It was pretty frustrating,” Nisby said. “I knew it would be hard to get shots off today. (Boynton’s block) was frustrating, but as long as we come back stronger from something like that then we can be thankful for it.”

For Erskine’s part, the Eagles thought that the one Grondin goal should have been enough to finish the job.

“We can win 6-0 games and we can absolutely win 1-0 games,” Boynton said. “I feel like our defense is absolutely capable of that. Sometimes, it doesn’t go your way. We’ve just got to play better.”

Some credit for the visitors being able to salvage something in the closing minutes belonged to Maranacook keeper Brayden St. Pierre and his 14 saves.

The only ball that beat St. Pierre was Grondin’s. St.Pierre came well off his line only to be bowled over in his race for a 50-50 ball that left the net wide open for Grondin’s go-ahead finish.

“A lot of heart today (at the end),” Beckwith said. “We just kind of went through the motions. It’s too bad we only played for the last 20 minutes.”

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