BUCKSPORT, Maine — John Bapst High School senior Casey Hull had been a striker up until a couple of games ago.
That’s when he became the goalkeeper, switching positions with junior Ryan Carr.
And Hull came up with a number of quality saves as the Crusaders parlayed his aggressive goalkeeping and Jordan Meyers’ penalty kick with 1:52 remaining to nip Bucksport 2-1 in an entertaining Eastern Maine Class B soccer game.
The blustery wind created havoc for Hull and Bucksport sophomore goalkeeper Joe Goodin but both handled it well.
Hull finished with eight saves on 20 shots while Goodin made six on 30 shots.
“[Hull’s] a very athletic kid and he has such great reaction time,” said Bucksport coach Larry Clement. “He was a major factor today.”
Hull made a timely save off Jon Goodin, Joe’s brother, who was left unmarked in the middle of the penalty area early in the second half.
He also came rushing off his line to smother a couple of other potential chances.
“The ball was hard to judge today. I just tried to do my best. It was hard for our defense to play the wind on airballs,” said Hull.
The game was a contrast in styles and both were effective.
The 2-1-1 Crusaders played a possession game with multiple-pass sequences while the 2-2 Bucks were much more direct, sending long balls from the back to dynamic and highly skilled striker Dom Kone.
Senior striker Jordan Trasko opened the scoring for Bucksport just 9:31 into the game but JB senior striker Andrew Casey equalized just 38 seconds later.
Both teams had plenty of chances to break the tie and the game appeared headed to overtime when Casey and a Bucksport player collided in the penalty area on Meyers’ corner kick and a questionable penalty kick was awarded for a push.
“[The call] could have gone either way. It was 50-50. He got a good piece of me. He cut my head. I blacked out for a second,” said Casey.
Meyers put the penalty kick low to Goodin’s left.
“I try to pick where I’m going to put it before [I approach the ball],” said Meyers. “If I’m running up to the ball trying to pick where I should put it, it gets difficult.”
Meyers played an exceptional game as he controlled the midfield and made smart passes that led to scoring opportunities. He also took a couple of challenging long-range shots.
Clement said the referees “had been letting the kids play through things all game long, which I certainly love to see. It was an evenly played game and it’s really tough to see it come down to a call like that. One of our kids had been taken out going up for a ball earlier in the game in a similar situation and there was no call. I was fine with that.”
Trasko opened the scoring with a well-conceived play off a free kick just outside the area.
Jon Goodin appeared as though he was going to put a shot on net but, instead, he fed Trasko, who was positioned in the wall, and the unmarked Trasko turned and directed a low 10-yarder past Hull.
Casey tied it when a cross from Alex Gale was smartly chested over to him by Carr and he tapped it home.
Later in the half, junior back Dylan Dedmon preserved the tie by clearing a Casey shot labeled for the far corner off the line during a wild flurry.
Dedmon was one of Bucksport’s most dangerous players with his long boots from the back and menacing throw-ins.
“Hats off to Bucksport. They played us very tough,” said JB coach Andy Frace.