Fowler’s second half goals lift Lakers past spirited Raiders, 2-1

SHOT...SAVE — Lake Region's Lucy Fowler fires a point blank shot at Fryeburg Academy goalie Jasmine Ramsay, who kicked it away. Fowler, however, scored twice in the second half to lead Lake Region to a 2-1 victory. (Rivet Photos)

SHOT...SAVE — Lake Region's Lucy Fowler fires a point blank shot at Fryeburg Academy goalie Jasmine Ramsay, who kicked it away. Fowler, however, scored twice in the second half to lead Lake Region to a 2-1 victory. (Rivet Photos)

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

Coach Pauline Webb starts each practice with three words — focus, energy and intensity.

It took all three for Lake Region to rally past an inspired Fryeburg Academy field hockey team last Thursday in Naples.

Senior Lucy Fowler scored a pair of goals to lead the Lakers to a hard-fought 2-1 victory over the Raiders.

Playing with heavy hearts following the tragic death of a former Academy student, senior Emily Davidson shocked the Lakers with a score at 18:24 of the first half, assisted by Mariah Davis.

“Emily is having a good year, but was especially aggressive in the Lake Region game. She has scored four goals this year and knows where to be to help the ball find the cage,” Fryeburg Academy Coach Dede Frost said. “She isn’t always the last to touch it, so the credit doesn’t always find her.”

The goal sparked confidence and determination for the Raiders, who controlled territorial play for most of the first half.

Coach Frost was impressed with her club’s effort considering the Raiders had little to no practice time leading up to the Laker game. A few days were spent doing non-field hockey activities as the team rallied amongst themselves after the loss of Gaige K. McCue, 19, of Denmark, who died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the parking lot at Gray-New Gloucester High School, where the Raiders were playing that Saturday against the Patriots. According to his obituary, McCue had been in a relationship with a Raider field hockey player.

The Raiders led that game 5-0 at halftime behind goals from Mackenzie Hill, Kylie Locke, Nicole Thurston (2) and Sydney Andreoli. The game was called at halftime due to the shooting.

ENTANGLED — Finding themselves up close and personal trying to gain possession of the ball are Madison Davis of Fryeburg Academy and Lake Region's Courtney Yates.

ENTANGLED — Finding themselves up close and personal trying to gain possession of the ball are Madison Davis of Fryeburg Academy and Lake Region's Courtney Yates.

Raider players voted to play their game against Falmouth as scheduled, and lost 2-0.

“It would be an understatement to say that I was impressed with the way the girls played in the game at Lake Region. I can’t begin to describe the process we are all going through dealing with the loss of Gaige (McCue). I have no idea what to expect each day at practice or in the games to come. We are all healing at different paces, and there is no set timeline that we can follow,” Coach Frost said. “I can say, however, that I have been utterly amazed at how our team has come together in support of one another. Lake Region was only four days after the tragedy. The team came out strong, just as they had against Falmouth two days before.”

Coach Frost said Davidson’s goal was somewhat of a quick adjustment.

“The goal that was scored was actually an adapted corner. The original number called went to the wrong person — Kylie Locke instead of Skye Dole. She adjusted and sent the ball backward to Skye who passed backward again to Makayla (Frost). Makayla drove the ball toward the Lake Region goalie and it was tipped in by Emily. Rya Davis actually touched it just as Emily got a stick on it to push it in,” Coach Frost said. “It was beautiful to watch because the girls didn’t let the initial mistake ruin the play. They adjusted and restarted the play, pushing the ball backward until it ended up with Makayla, where it belonged. That, to me, was so amazing. No panic. Pure calm adjustment.”

Lake Region would make the next big adjustment, at halftime.

“We got refocused after halftime and the team of 10 seniors decided they were going to turn the game around,” Coach Webb said. “Their energy elevated and so did their intensity, lifting all the other players along with them and, in the end, walking off the field with a great win.”

Fowler tied it up at 19:29 in the second half with a hard drive.

“We have been spending more time working on those hard drives at goal as soon as we are in the circle or just outside the circle and then making sure we are on the (goalie’s) pads for any rebounds,” Coach Webb said. “We’ve had a tendency to take too much time to set up the perfect shot once we are in the circle and that has hurt us in close games. It’s not about how pretty the shot is, most of the time, it’s the power in the shot that gets the ball in the goal. Lucy proved that today against Fryeburg.”

Fowler’s first goal deflected off a defensive player’s stick and went in.

MOUNTING A SCORING BID — Raider senior Emily Davidson heads toward the Lake Region goal. Davidson scored a first half goal to put FA up 1-0.

MOUNTING A SCORING BID — Raider senior Emily Davidson heads toward the Lake Region goal. Davidson scored a first half goal to put FA up 1-0.

“There is no way a goalie could defend that kind of deflection from a defender in front of her,” Coach Frost said.

Her second goal off a penalty corner proved a little controversial. Fowler unloaded a hard drive that deflected off Raider goalie Jasmine Ramsay’s glove hand and popped high into the goal. The two game officials gathered and ultimately let the goal stand.

Coach Frost had an opposing view.

“The goal scored with 11 minutes remaining in the game was deliberated between the officials due to height and danger. I agreed with the official who did not rule it a goal and still do. So be it,” Coach Frost said. “That day was hard for my team. Not because we lost. I wouldn’t have cared if we lost 10-0 because we couldn’t get ourselves together. But because we did get ourselves together and focused energy and grief etc. into the game. We felt we were the better team on the field. Our players respect Lake Region. Many of them are even friends. They have a very healthy rivalry. That’s what makes playing well against them so special. Statistically, we were the better team on the field that day. But we did not come home with a win. Call it melodramatic, or whatever, but the girls were great, I felt they deserved that game. Just once that week, I wanted them to get what they deserved…a happy ending.”

Unlike other teams, the Raiders did not try to double-team Fowler, the Lakers’ leading scorer.

“We didn’t double-team anybody. We didn’t have a strategy.  We didn’t mark numbers. I never even spoke of Lucy Fowler or any other possible offensive threats of our opponents. I didn’t want them trying to divide their attention or focus on anything other than one another,” Coach Frost said.

Laker players also showed their respect to their rivals by wearing yellow ribbons in their hair in support of their lost classmate. LR players also presented the Raiders with a signed card before the contest.

In the end, both teams came closer together — one resulting with a victory on the scoreboard; the other with a personal victory, knowing together they can get through the toughest of times.

“Lucy was able to finish those shots for us today, but it was definitely a team effort that gave us the win,” Coach Webb said.

NICE GAME — Lake Region junior Bridgette Letarte congratulates goalie Meghan VanLoan following last Thursday's win over Fryeburg Academy.

NICE GAME — Lake Region junior Bridgette Letarte congratulates goalie Meghan VanLoan following last Thursday's win over Fryeburg Academy.

FA goalie Jasmine Ramsey had one save and LR goalie Meghan VanLoan had eight saves, including a key kickout late in the game, thwarting a scoring drive by Raider sophomore Nicole Thurston. The Raiders had 12 shots for the game to the Lakers’ seven. Each team had eight penalty corner opportunities.

Laker defender Samantha Marucci put the win on ice when she collected a loose ball in the scoring circle, made a quick dash to the outside and sent a perfect pass up the wing to sister, Nicole, who rushed the ball into Raider territory and ran out the clock’s final seconds.

Lake Region won the season series, 2-0.

• The JV teams enjoyed a fun game with some of the FA girls playing with the LR team to even out the numbers. The score ended in a 1-1 tie.

Down the home stretch

Both teams are eyeing the playoffs.

The Lakers remain in a fight to secure home field advantage, and could make a big leap if they were able to knock off York yesterday (Wednesday).

Lake Region closes out the regular season on Tuesday with a game at Sacopee Valley at 4 p.m.

The Raiders will look to move up with games against Kennebunk (away, Friday), Greely (home, Tuesday) and Cape Elizabeth (home, Wednesday).

“Our team is beginning to improve their level of play despite the rebuilding that has had to be done. We did not talk about playoffs at the beginning of the season, as it was hard to know if we could even win a game,” Coach Frost said. “We began to discuss the possibility of playoffs about two weeks ago when we had been holding seventh place (in the Heal Ratings) for a couple weeks.”

Regardless of how the rest of the field hockey season plays out, Coach Frost could not be more proud of how her team has responded to adversity and tragedy.

“After the Gray game, we spent afternoons together. We just didn’t practice. The girls voted to play the Falmouth game on Tuesday and move forward. Then, we went to the funeral together and then back to the hockey field, where we communicate best,” Coach Frost said. “Before the Falmouth game, I had to clear the air, say something. I told them that sometimes we do things because we love them. We play field hockey because we love it. If there were no brackets or playoffs or finals, most of us would still come out every afternoon to do something together that we love. I told them that was our new focus — to be together everyday doing something we love as a team. Supporting one another, not worrying about standings or playoffs; not worrying if some people laughed when they made mistakes or cried randomly in the middle of a drill; not worrying about anything except getting through the rest of the season together. Focus only on the needs of one another and the ball. Keep it simple. Love the game.”

Coach Frost hopes a tourney berth is in the cards for the Raiders because, “I think they’ve earned it. Does it really matter in the big scheme of things? No. I think we’ve all had enough of life’s reality slaps to make us realize there are more important things in life. Prelims or playoffs would extend the season, however, and right now, this team needs a place to go every day to be normal. Being with teammates and playing field hockey provides that normalcy. We have a long road ahead of us still.”

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