First half goal stands up as York stuns Lakers
By Wayne E. Rivet
The third time wasn’t the charm.
Top-ranked Lake Region saw its bid to reach the Class B West field hockey finals thwarted Saturday afternoon as junior Taylor Simpson’s first half goal proved to be enough as fourth-ranked York moved on with a 1-0 semi-final victory.
The Wildcats continued its tradition of vying for the conference title year in and year out. Over their last eight games, the Cats rolled to a 6-1-1 mark. Their last defeat was a 1-0 loss to the Lakers in the closing minute.
Saturday, the Cats prevented a three-game sweep by handing the Lakers a heartbreaking loss.
“I’m not convinced it had much to do with playing them three times, but rather that several factors in the game didn’t work to our advantage,” Lake Region Coach Lisa Shane said. “I’ll say that York did appear more aggressive than the last two meetings and they played tighter to Lucy (Fowler) and Kayleigh (Lepage) as well.”
While the Lakers matched the Cats’ intensity, Coach Shane felt her club was unable to find a rhythm, which they seemed to generate over their 14-win season.
“A concern throughout the game for us was having the referees interrupting possession momentum so frequently rather than what’s typically done (during the regular season), which is hold the whistle after a foul if the non-offending team gains possession. That hurt us on a couple of key runs into the circle,” Coach Shane said.
Just as York made some adjustments, the Lakers also juggled their strategy, to a point.
“We did make adjustments on corners due to some great saves by the York goalie, but on this day, we fell short on some terrific feeds to the stroke line,” Coach Shane said.
With the Cats scoring in the first half, the Lakers remained confident that they could pull off the equalizer and rally for a win at home.
“We had to try and help Meghan (VanLoan) let go of the goal play where she was convinced the York player was well outside the circle for the shot,” Coach Shane said. “It was lot of pressure for a sophomore, first-year varsity goalie. However, she and the girls knew it was a new half and we were determined that we could persist enough to get many more shots on York which we did.”
Unfortunately, the day would belong to the Cats (12-3-1), who moved on to the West Final against third-seed Leavitt, which stung Fryeburg Academy 1-0 in the other semifinal.
“I know these girls put everything they had out on the field, which is what they’ve done all season. Their love for the sport and strong team play kept their will to win intact, which made it more painful to realize they weren’t going to participate in the Western Maine Championship game,” Coach Shane said.
Crushing disappointment has a way of preventing a team from realizing the accomplishments over a long fall season, including 14 wins and a Number 1 seed.
“I emphasized that they needed to try not to blame the loss on any one play, but to reflect on the fact that every game has its unique situations that determine the outcome. That they are and always will be an outstanding team that made a tremendous impact in the Western Class B Conference,” Coach Shane said. “It was unanimous that we all have a hunger and determination to continue learning and doing what it takes to keep Lake Region field hockey a team that is respected for its exceptional level of play and student athletes.”
The Lakers finished 14-2.
Seniors completing their LR field hockey careers were: Tori Girardin, Kate Cutting, Dana Fitzgerald, Kristina Morton, Kayleigh Lepage and Kayla Reinhard.
LR sinks Clippers
In last week’s quarterfinal match-up, the Lakers sank Yarmouth 2-0 on goals by Meghan Skarbinski and Elizabeth Schreiber.
“There was a lot of excitement in the school today about this game. Before the game, we talked about our love of the game and what we’ve accomplished this season,” Coach Shane said. “We wanted to get our positive energy up, and take it into the game.”
Skarbinski beat Yarmouth goalie Nicole Hickey with a low shot to the left with 57 seconds left in the first half. Junior Lucy Fowler had the assist.
The Lakers dominated territorial play, thanks to aggressive play from middies Kayleigh Lepage, Kate Cutting and Miranda Chadbourne. And when the Clippers advanced the ball into LR territory, the ball was quickly cleared the other way by defenders Casey Heath, Kristina Morton and Courtney Yates.
The Lakers added an insurance goal early in the second half when Fowler made a strong drive along the right side, beat two defenders to the end line, and then sent a strong pass through the goal crease where Schreiber poked the ball into the cage’s left corner.
“We struggled stopping their drives in the first half. Their drives were getting by three or four people. We did a better job in the second half,” Coach Shane said. “We stayed aggressive.”
The Lakers expected a tough game against Yarmouth, a quick team that normally plays on turf and possesses good stick moves. Scoring first helped “feed” the Lakers’ energy and confidence level.
Coach Shane shuffled several secondary people into the lineup over the final eight minutes, giving them valuable playoff experience.
“This was an opportunity for them to play at this level, and get ready for next year. I need to make sure that we’re building for not just this year but for years to come,” Coach Shane said. “We want to develop the confidence of as many players as possible. Yes, there were a few times that I wondered if I had started substituting too early. You never know how it will turn out. The players in there were working hard. We made a few other changes, and we had a few players step up and we were okay.”
Sophomore goalie Meghan VanLoan made two saves for the Lakers.