PROSPECT goalie Jake Towle scoops up a loose ball during action at Gilford on Friday. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
August 27, 2012ALTON — Prospect Mountain boys' soccer coach Gary Noyes, Sr. said he would have a pretty good idea where his team stood after the first game of the season.
After one game, it's safe to say the Timber Wolves are the real deal this season.
The Prospect boys traveled to Gilford on Friday afternoon, Aug. 24, and handed the Golden Eagles their first regular-season loss in three years and won for the first-time ever in Gilford, making a Jake Troy first half goal stand up for a 1-0 victory.
"It's been a while," Noyes said of his team's struggles against the perennial Division III powerhouse. "And that's the first time we've beat them in Gilford."
The last time the Timber Wolves defeated their Route 11 neighbors, Jack LaFreniere scored the winning goal in the final minutes of play in Alton.
Now, Troy can add his name to the list of Timber Wolves who booted the Golden Eagles.
The senior took a great feed from exchange student Marc Fernandez and fired it home at the 14:09 mark of the first half. Fernandez dribbled the ball down the left side and slid it across to Troy, who blasted it in from six yards out.
"Marc really created that," Noyes said.
The veteran coach admitted that when Troy scored, he wasn't sure that would be enough, as the Golden Eagles always come with a potent offense.
"At the 14-minute mark, I honestly didn't think that would be enough," Noyes said. "And they pressed at the end pretty good, but we held on."
For the Prospect coach, the biggest challenge going into the game was keeping the hosts off the scoreboard early on, which he figured would give his team a fighting chance.
"The biggest thing I told them was don't let them score early," Noyes said. "And we sent a message."
While Troy was the offensive star of the game, another Jake, Jake Towle, was the star at the other end of the field, as he made some diving saves in the Prospect net to keep his team in the game.
"Especially in the first half, he had a couple of key saves," Noyes said. "Jake had a great game."
The Timber Wolf coach also praised the work of the defense in front of Towle, which was able to keep the Golden Eagles from pressuring the goal as much as they wanted to.
"The defense in front of Jake played really well," Noyes said, noting that defensive stalwarts Matt McGinnis and David Troy were joined by Nate Farnham, Joe Perry and Logan LaRoche during periods of the game to help stymie the Gilford attack and shut down the Golden Eagles at every turn.
"It was certainly a total team effort," Noyes said. "That's a great game."
However, ever looking forward, the coach told his players to enjoy the night with the win, but not to overlook their next game, which came against their Route 11 neighbors in the other direction, Farmington, after deadline on Wednesday.
"I said, enjoy it tonight, but tomorrow we get ready for Farmington," Noyes said. "And we can't overlook Farmington."
The Timber Wolves will be at Kingswood on Friday, Aug. 31, for an 11 a.m. game. On Wednesday, Sept. 5, they host Belmont at 4 p.m.
Joshua Spaulding can be reached at email@example.com or 569-3126