One year after having its regional playoff dreams dashed by Mount View of Thorndike, the Medomak Valley boys soccer team had its midseason showdown with the Mustangs on Wednesday, Sept. 25 circled on the calendar since August.

And while the ‘Stangs penned in the Panthers in a one-goal shutout last fall in the postseason on their home field, it was the Panthers who returned the favor in a key match between two talented, undefeated high school pitch opponents.

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By game’s end, it was a goal in the first five minutes by junior midfielder Zach Cheesman that held up at the end of 80 minutes as the Panthers prowled to a physically-played, 1-0 victory over the Mustangs.

Not only did the win keep Medomak Valley undefeated on the campaign, but it ended Mount View’s 29-game regular season unbeaten streak.

Last season, then ranked third in Class B North, the Mustangs edged No. 14 Medomak Valley 1-0 in a prelim playoff. Now, interestingly enough, the teams have moved on as the Panthers now toil in Class B South and Mustangs in Class C North.

Cheesman made no bones about it after the game: “This was definitely the biggest test we’ve had so far this season.”

“It’s huge in Heal Points and we came out hard,” he said. “It was definitely a defensive battle with us scoring in the first five minutes and then we just really locked it down from there. It was a great team win.”

Cheesman’s goal came at the 35:39-mark of the first half when he took a pass from Brandon Starr and got past Mustang goalie Ricky Nelson — who had come out a bit off his line — and pumped it in for what proved the game-winner.

“The ball was bouncing and it was up above Brandon’s head,” said Cheesman of the score. “He just kind of squeaked it back through the defense and I saw it and I sprinted diagonally from the wing, took one touch, looked up and put it bottom left low on the ground.”

“We got that lane and Zach made one move, beat one guy and he was able to finish to the keeper’s right on the far post,” said Medomak Valley coach Brian Campbell.

“I thought both teams played really well in the first half,” said Mount View coach Jeremy Von Oesen. “I thought they played better in the first half. They controlled play, they knocked the ball around, they were purposeful [and] they found a target man up top. At halftime we made an adjustment so they couldn’t find that target guy. Halfway through the second half we were controlling play, but they started dropping guys into the box and defending fully and that makes it tougher to score.”

The game was evenly-matched and physical, as Medomak Valley's defense bottled up Mount View’s forwards, led by senior Elijah Allen.

“Our main objective was to shut down the middle of the field, make sure they didn’t have any easy lanes and to work the ball to the outside and just attack them,” said Campbell. “That’s what we did and it worked well for us.”

The Panthers were down one defender, Pat McKenney, who did not play due to injury, which left Jake Bickmore, typically a defensive midfielder, to sag back with defenders Zac Winpenny, Justin Mahoney and Arie Vannoy.

Campbell said the quartet “was excellent today.”

Medomak Valley held a 7-5 edge in shots, while both teams attempted one corner kick. Nelson made five saves in goal for the ‘Stangs, as did Aiden Starr for the Panthers.

Mount View had difficulty solving the Medomak Valley defense throughout the game, but did manage a few quality scoring chances in the final 10 minutes. Several of which were crosses from the outside by Draedyn Furrow to Allen, while Furrow had a breakaway on net up the right side with about 10 minutes left, but the Panther defense collapsed on him and seemingly tripped him up inside the penalty box.

“He’s going to finish that nine out of 10 times,” said Von Oesen. “But you get your ankles clipped and thrown off balance. And as the defender you take it as far as you can without getting called and he did just enough where the ref didn’t call it.”

Campbell said, at 7-0, this is the best start to a season a boys soccer team at Medomak Valley has had in years, “At least in the [10] years that I’ve been here. We’re just taking it one game at a time.”

“This was huge to start 7-0 on the season,” sad Cheesman. “And that’s a quality team, they’re going to get us a ton of points. Those southern teams are looking at the standings saying, ‘Who’s this Medomak Valley team?’ We’re letting them know.”

In the Maine Principals' Association Heal Point Standings for Class B South, Medomak Valley (7-0, 33.1633 points) is second, while Yarmouth (7-0, 37.2959 points) is first in the 16-team region. The top 11 teams qualify for the playoffs.

In the Maine Principals' Association Heal Point Standings for Class C North, Mount View (6-1, 18.8776 points) is fifth, while Sumner of East Sullivan (5-0, 24.8980 points) is first in the 15-team region. The top 10 teams qualify for the playoffs.