Lakers win double OT thriller over Cape
By Wayne E. Rivet
Lucy Fowler has a quick trigger, which is one reason Lake Region remains undefeated following a 3-2 double overtime victory over Cape Elizabeth last Friday.
With 1:52 left, Elizabeth Schreiber hit a dart across the middle of the scoring circle where Fowler made a quick stop and then fired a low drive to the right corner for the game winner as the Lakers improved to 6-0 in varsity field hockey play.
Heal Ratings released Tuesday place the Lakers in fourth in Class B West with 22.9670 tourney points, just behind second-ranked Fryeburg Academy (6-0, 23.5283) and third-seed York (6-1, 23.2143)
The Lakers built a quick 2-0 lead as Fowler scored on a point-blank drive and Tori Girardin connected on a shot from the left wing.
Cape battled back, scoring just the second goal against the Lakers this season off a scramble in front of LR goalie Meghan Van Loan. The Lakers had dominated play from a territorial standpoint behind strong play from Kayleigh Lepage and Kate Cutting.
The Capers tied the game when a high drive from near the top of the circle zipped past Van Loan, who appeared screened on the play by defenders.
The Lakers appeared to strike for the game winner with about seven minutes left in regulation when Lepage cranked a hard drive from the top of the circle, which appeared to be touched by Schreiber, who was camped on the left post. But, the goal was waved off by game officials.
LR continued to control play in the first overtime, yet were unable to score. It appeared the Lakers might settle for a tie as time ticked off the clock in the final overtime session until Schreiber chased down a long hit to the left of the Cape Elizabeth cage. Her well-placed pass found Fowler on the doorstep. A quick drive beat Cape netminder Julianne Ayers. It was Fowler’s 10th goal of the season.
“This win was truly a team effort. Kristina Morton played an outstanding game, breaking through Cape’s attack repeatedly and feeding her own attack consistently,” LR Coach Lisa Shane said. “We still need to work on reading the defense and our off ball movement, but I’m happy with the team’s progress. The energy was very positive and I was glad to see the girls being receptive to gaining confidence in different positions.”
For Lucy Fowler, a change in position is a big reason the Lakers have emerged as a major threat in Class B West this fall. Having played nearly every position in middle school and an indoor league team, Fowler was primarily a midfielder her first two seasons at the varsity level. With the graduation of Alice Sanborn, Fowler was inserted into the center spot — one she both enjoys and embraces.
“I’m pretty versatile when it comes to positioning. When our center last year (Alice Sanborn) graduated, Coach Leland told me that I would probably get pushed up to forward line and I liked the idea of it. I started playing it in our summer league at Deering and I was really hoping they would keep me there because I feel I’m stronger there than in the midfield,” she said. “I prefer playing center forward because I think my skills are most effective in that position. The biggest adjustment I have made is being in the center of the field rather than the left (side). As a midfielder my freshman and sophomore years, I played the left which is very different than the center.”
With Fowler scoring 10 of the team’s 18 goals this season, opposing coaches have started to make some defensive adjustments in hopes of slowing down the Laker attack. Fowler faced more double teams against the Capers last Friday, but still managed to score a pair of goals.
“For the most part, Cape did have at least one of their defenders guarding me, and sometimes they had two players on me which added a little bit of a challenge. We always practice cutting to get open and moving to a free space in order to get the ball, so I did my best to get away from the defenders,” Fowler said. “I also heard the Cape goalie constantly telling her defenders to make sure I was guarded, which reminded me to move and cut to get open. My coaches have always pushed me to cut to get open, now I just have to use the cuts more often.”
Once she receives a pass, Fowler knows she has just seconds to get a shot off. She credits taking a lot of shots during a game, as well as work in practice as reasons for her early success.
“I think the most effective way I have practiced my shot and getting it off quickly is by taking shots during games. Practicing on a goalie definitely helps, but it’s not quite the same compared to a game when you have committed defense also fighting to get the ball out of the circle,” she said. “I always love just shooting on our goalie, Meghan Van Loan, because in my opinion she’s one of the best goalies I’ve ever shot on and she always challenges me. It’s pretty necessary to get my shot off quickly otherwise it’s too late and the defense has a chance to get the ball or the goalie has a chance to recover and stop my shot.”
While Fowler has provided a big spark for the Lakers, the junior says all credit for the impressive start rests with how the team has come together as a unit.
“One of the biggest reasons our team is off to such a good start and has been successful so far is because of our commitment. This season, I have noticed every girl has a major desire to win and wants to be successful more than we have in past seasons,” Lucy said. “Our coach, Coach Shane, always reminds us that we’re not going to win unless we personally want to win and believe we can. Our team has been a lot better at working together this year. We have great team chemistry! We talk so much more on the field and work together much better than we have in my past two seasons.”
When Cape erased a 2-0 deficit, the Lakers didn’t panic — instead, they regrouped and turned up the pressure.
“There were definitely a lot of mixed feelings going around. Two goals were the most goals we have had scored on us in a single game, so we were definitely upset with ourselves. When we got into our quick huddle, we told each other we needed to pick it up and remember that we wanted to win. Before the game, Coach Shane asked us whom we were playing for that day and we all agreed we were playing for each other because we are a team and we want to work together and win together,” Lucy said. “We did our best to keep our composure after they scored on us for the second time and I think we were successful because they were unable to score on us again.”
Trying to take one game at a time and not looking ahead (a rivalry showdown arrives this Wednesday when the Lakers travel to undefeated Fryeburg Academy), Lucy Fowler said the key to the team’s future success is simply “believing” in themselves.
“Fryeburg is definitely a big game, but I think the team is mostly focusing on just being confident. We’re still working on preparing for one game at a time, but each practice and each game is more preparation for Fryeburg,” she said. “Our team is mostly just focusing on working together and knowing that the only way we’ll beat Fryeburg is if we do it together, as one.”
• In other action last week, Lucy Fowler had a goal and an assist as the Lakers (5-0) scored three times in the final 17 minutes to beat the Hawks 3-0 at South Hiram.
Kayla Reinhard and Elizabeth Schreiber (assisted by Fowler) also scored, and Meghan Van Loan made two saves for the fourth LR shutout of the season. Lepage assisted on the Fowler goal. Chloe Ronco stopped 14 shots for Sacopee Valley (1-5).
“The team needed to adjust to a game that leaned on the rough side of play,” Coach Shane said. “Miranda Chadbourne and Mackenzie Mondville provided strong contributions in the midfield. Freshman Molly Christiansen showed impressive poise as she stepped in to support our efforts.”
Up next: The Lakers host Wells on Saturday at 11 a.m. LR then hosts Greely on Monday, Sept. 24 at 4 p.m., travel to Fryeburg on Wednesday, Sept. 26 at 3:30 p.m. and host Yarmouth on Thursday, Sept. 27 at 4 p.m.