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Lisbon tops Profile in season opener

Profile goalkeeper Taylor Boucher dives to make the stop on Lisbonís Mike Heath, right, as Profile defender Zach Bushway, left, closes in. Lisbon defeated Profile 4-0 in the season opener for both teams last Friday at Lisbon Lions Lions Club Community Field. Charlie Lentz. (click for larger version)
September 02, 2009
LISBON— Senior midfielder E.J. Patch felt snubbed going into Lisbon's opening match of the soccer season last Friday. Although the Panthers won the state championship last year, they lost seven seniors to graduation and weren't on the radar as a preseason contender in Class S.

"No one had us ranked anywhere. We're the underdogs again," Patch said.

"We're always underdogs but we usually seem to get it together and have something for the end of the season."

Patch and the Panthers went in search of goals against Profile at Lisbon Lions Club Community Field. Patch found what he was looking for just 4:17 into the match and Lisbon added three more goals to defeat Profile 4-0.

"It's an awesome time to come out and win our first game," Patch said. "Last year's team was an amazing team. This year, we have a lot of hard workers."

Lisbon coach Les Poore said the Panthers brought their hard hats and lunch pails as usual.

"We pride ourselves on winning those 50-50 balls," Poore said. "That's what we've done for years."

Lisbon survived some early flurries by Profile, but Panthers' junior goalkeeper Ericson Smith played solidly to earn the shutout.

"The key to the game is we scored first. They had a little semi-breakaway and had a point-blank shot and they missed it," said Poore. "It was all about coming in and being smart, playing physical, and trying to do the little things. Profile will bounce back. It was just our day."

The Patriots might have seized momentum had they found the net on their early scoring chances.

"That was something we did in the preseason. We converted on the opportunities we needed to convert on," said Profile coach Dave Robinson. "Look at the first 10 minutes of the game. We had a wide-open net three minutes in. We missed that wide-open net. They come back, score that goal. It's a completely different story if that ball's in the back of the net, completely different momentum change. Then we had two or three great scoring opportunities right after that. There's no reason they shouldn't be in the back of the net."

After thwarting Profile's early scoring chances, Lisbon won the ball in a scramble in front of Patriots' goal and the ball squirted to Patch just 10 yards in front of the net.

"That ball was bounced into the middle, I think it was off (Lisbon junior forward) Jake Clement," Patch said. "It just set up perfectly."

Patch collected the ball and rammed it inside the right post for a 1-0 lead.

Lisbon kept hustling for loose balls in the first half and the effort paid off.

At 26:35 of the opening half, senior forward Matt Cavicchio gained another

50-50 ball just eight yards in front of Profile's net.

"That's what we came out to do, win 50-50's. I had two guys run right through the ball before I got it," Cavicchio said. "It was just laying right for me to put it in. They did the work. I just finished it off."

Cavicchio fired it just inside the left post for a 2-0 lead.

The Panthers kept the pressure on in the second half.

"Our coach is always pushing us on that after the half, no matter how much we're up by, it's always zero to zero," Patch said. "We go out there to fight. We don't go out there to keep a lead. We go out there to score more."

At 22:41 of the second half, Lisbon junior forward Richard Trahan was tripped up in the penalty area and the Panthers were awarded a penalty shot.

Senior defender Brandon Chase converted the penalty shot inside the left post for a 3-0 lead.

"I guess we just wanted to go out and send a message to everyone else," Chase said. "It's just a great way to start the season."

Senior midfielder Riley Northrop capped the scoring with 2:32 left in the match. From 17 yards out on the right wing, Northrop tucked a beautiful shot in the upper left corner of the goal to make it 4-0.

Northrop wasn't surprised by Lisbon's scoring outburst.

"I think we can reload and have other people step up. We just need to score more and today we scored," Northrop said. "Everywhere on the field, we need to be good. Winning your first game is an inspiration booster. It gets you ready to go forward."

Although those seven key players departed after last year's championship run, the Panthers are determined not to miss a beat.

"Everyone talks about last year and what we lost. We just came back to make a name for ourselves, and that's huge for us. Senior year, you just want to do what you can do to make it back to where we were last year," Cavicchio said. "We came into this game as the underdog. It's huge to set the tone for the season the way we did. Our trouble this year was supposed to be scoring. We don't have that one scorer like last year. We don't have that one guy that's going to put it in the net. We just need to get it from wherever we can. We definitely don't have that one standout player. It's just going to be definitely all of us working together."

After combining for four goals last Friday, Patch said Lisbon might have the right combination again this season.

"Every senior always wants to end with a championship," Patch said. "The seniors, at least, want to have a good run in the playoffs—to make the season their season."

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