Mariners stun No. 6 Coyotes in prelim playoff victoryTownsend tallies two goals; No. 11 Oceanside to face No. 3 Winslow in quarterfinals
Old Town — The Oceanside boys soccer team had won only one game away from its home venue at Pendleton Field in Thomaston this season, so the Mariners understood traveling to face No. 6 Old Town in an Eastern Class B high school preliminary round playoff game Oct. 19 would be no easy task.
And the Mariners, whom six days prior handed Camden Hills its only loss of the regular season (and halted that squad's 41-game regular-season unbeaten streak), responded with their backs against the wall in Friday afternoon's playoff.
At the time of the recent win over the Windjammers, Oceanside coach Josh Mahar said the Mariners were coming together as a team and would be a tough opponent for any team in the postseason.
And, as it turns out, he was correct.
The No. 11 Mariners rallied from a 2-1 first-half deficit to stun the sixth-seeded Coyotes Friday to knock the hosts from the playoffs with a 3-2 victory.
The Mariners (7-7-1) move on to the regional quarterfinals, where they will face No. 3 Winslow (10-1-3) on Wednesday, Oct. 24, time to be determined. Oceanside lost to Winslow 5-1 in the teams' lone meeting of the regular season Sept. 11 in Winslow.
"We controlled the run of play," said Oceanside coach Josh Mahar of Friday's playoff against Old Town. "We passed the ball well, we moved the ball well and we got the win."
Drew Townsend tallied two goals to lead the Mariners Friday, while Lars Feuerlein added a goal and two assists in the hard-fought victory. Matt Melanson finished with a goal and an assist for Old Town (8-6-1), while Brian Dunn added a goal and Rodrigo Zertuche an assist.
Phillip Atwood made six saves on 11 shots in goal for the Mariners, while Jameson Ploch made five saves on 19 shots in net for Old Town. The Mariners also held a 5-2 edge in penalty corners.
The Mariners wasted little time getting on the board when Feuerlein found an open Townsend for the game's first score with 35:39 remaining in the first half, but the Coyotes responded when Melanson found Dunn with 26:41 left and Gerpuche found Melanson with 2:23 remaining to give the hosts a 2-1 halftime edge.
"We scored that goal [early] and then for about 15 minutes or so we just stopped passing," said Mahar. "But we came out and just picked up where we left off when we were playing well. That was the best, I think, we passed the ball all year [in the second half]."
Oceanside rallied to tie the score with 19:33 left on Townsend's second goal on a play originally ruled a goal kick.
Feuerlein measured a sideline throw-in to Townsend, who touched the ball into the net, but it was originally ruled that no player touched the ball before it went into the net off the throw-in, which is not allowed, and the play would result in a goal kick.
However, the three officials conferred and ruled that Townsend made contact with the ball, crediting Oceanside with the goal.
"It was a throw-in that came in and he pushed it in off his foot," said Mahar of Townsend's second goal. "The official in the middle didn't see it but the line judge outside did."
The game-winning tally came with about 14 minutes left in regulation when Feuerlein beat Ploch for an unassisted score.
Now the Mariners must hope to knock off one of the region's top teams in Winslow. Oceanside did not have Townsend in their early-season loss to the Black Raiders after the senior suffered a concussion, but Mahar hopes having him in the lineup might be the key to extending Oceanside's season another game.
"They're a great team," said Mahar of the Black Raiders. "We're going up there and expecting a real challenge. We're just going to worry about ourselves and let the chips fall."
Courier Publications Associate Sports Director Mark Haskell can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.