LEWISTON — For Lewiston, practice made perfect.
Joel Musese worked on penalty kicks before and after practice, and when his name was called to take one Wednesday early in the second half, he converted.
Blue Devils keeper Dido Lumu put in extra work this week preparing for Mt. Ararat, and he stopped all 12 shots by the Eagles.
No one had worked the defending Class A state champions so hard all season, but the top-seeded Blue Devils’ extra work paid off for a 1-0 victory in the Class A North regional final at Don Roux Field.
Lewiston plays Gorham at 12:30 p.m. Saturday for the state title.
“We gave them everything they had, you know?” said Mt. Ararat Coach Jack Rioux. “One call, they scored, it happens, you know?
“We did had a chance at the end. You know, soccer gods weren’t on our side today.”
The No. 2 Eagles (13-3-1) had one last chance to tie the game, earning a free kick from 27 yards out with 5 seconds left.
The kick was tapped to senior striker Travis Nadeau, whose low strike sent Lumu diving for the game-winning save.
“I had it. I had it. I think I had it,” Lumu said. “You know, the ball kind of went under my arms but I made sure I brought it back to me.”
Lumu said he knew the final shot was going to be taken by Nadeau, whom he called the best player for Mt. Ararat.
“I didn’t care what the other players did – jump over, move around – I knew Travis was going to kick it, so I kept my eyes on him when he left,” Lumu said. “When he kicked the ball, I ran all out, all out.”
The Eagles went all out at the start of the game, and Lewiston Coach Mike McGraw knew that would happen.
“What I told the players beginning of the game is, ‘We’re going to have to weather the first 10 or 15 minutes,’ but it was more like 20 or 22 minutes, where we finally got a chance to breathe,” McGraw said.
Nadeau had the game’s first shot on goal less than seven minutes in, and the Eagles put three more on Lumu in the first 20-plus minutes.
The Blue Devils (15-0-2) didn’t get their first shot on goal until seven minutes later, but Suab Nur’s try was gobbled up by Mt. Ararat goalie James Singleton.
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