YORK — The two top field hockey teams in Western Class B learned something valuable about themselves Monday in York High’s 3-0 victory over Greely.

The top-ranked Wildcats (5-0) learned they can play – and play well – without their best player, center midfielder Hannah Keating, who missed the last 22:16 with a knee injury.

The second-ranked Rangers (3-1) learned it’s really hard to play short-handed.

Twice in the second half, a Greely player was assessed a yellow card for violating the 7-yard zone on free hits. Since the team had received a green- card warning for the same violation in the first half, the player had to sit out five minutes each time.

York scored two goals on its first man advantage.

“It’s a learning curve with everyone and the new rule,” said York Coach Barb Marois. “That’s kind of devastating when you lose a player. That’s a tough advantage, or disadvantage.”

Kristina Lane Prescott, Greely’s coach, didn’t know she had to play short-handed until game official Steve Walker told her. “I’ve never seen that before in all the years I played and coached,” she said. “Let alone two in one game.”

While the enforcement of field hockey’s new self-start rule – defensive players cannot, according to Walker, “influence or engage” an offensive player on a free hit until the ball travels 7 yards from its starting spot – led to two goals, the Wildcats controlled this one throughout.

Greely had a five-minute span at the start of the game when it controlled play and had a couple of good chances, but otherwise the Wildcats controlled the tempo and the territory. York out-shot Greely 9-4 and had eight penalty corners to Greely’s four – two in the final two minutes.

“They are a dangerous team, any little mistake you make, they can capitalize,” said Marois, of Greely. “I thought we played good team defense. If someone got beat, there was the next layer to cover.”

The game was still scoreless when Greely received its first five-minute penalty with 21:08 remaining. It took York 36 seconds to score. Catie Keenan sped down the right wing with the ball, then whacked it across the front of the goal. Becka Sarson controlled it at the left post and put it in for a 1-0 lead with 20:32 remaining.

“I didn’t know she was going to be there,” said Keenan, who added a goal later. “I just knew we’d have some bodies in front of the net.”

The Wildcats scored again with 16:50 left off a penalty corner. Chelsea Morley inserted the ball into play from the left of the goal to Cari Posternak. After a scrum, Posternak hit the ball back down to Morley, uncovered at the left post, and she knocked it in.

“We have a corner play like that,” said Morley. “That wasn’t it. But it was a great ball from Cari.”

Keenan got the final goal, with 9:59 remaining, assisted by Posternak and Meghan Boria-Meyer.

Both Kennan and Morley said the victory showed how far the two-time defending regional champion Wildcats have come. Losing Keating – who said the injury wasn’t serious – could have been difficult.

“Everybody stepped up,” said Morley. “No matter how much or how little we play, we all come together as a team and somehow get through it.”

Marois is pleased at how the team is gaining experience.

“Each game we play we try to build on what we did before,” said Marois. “We had a nice game against Cape (Elizabeth) on Saturday, so we’re hoping to just keep building on those kinds of things and see what happens.”

 

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at: [email protected]