KENNEBUNK – York High field hockey star Taylor Simpson had a goal and an assist. Freshman center midfielder Lily Posternak controlled the middle of the field and displayed stick skills to make seniors envious.
York dominated the second half, holding host Kennebunk without a shot or penalty corner. Most importantly, the top-ranked Wildcats improved to 5-0 with Thursday’s convincing 3-0 win.
So why was York Coach Barb Marois having such a quiet but seriously lengthy chat with her team after the game?
“I’m not satisfied,” Marois said. “I’ll take the win but I don’t think we played smart, good, solid hockey today.”
York took a 1-0 lead when Simpson, a senior, scored on a drive off York’s first penalty corner less than seven minutes into the game. That play certainly looked smart and crisp, as Kathleen Cronin inserted the ball to Simpson, who quickly dished it to her right to Posternak.
The rookie made a quick move to dodge Kennebunk’s flyer and sent the ball back to Simpson, who whammed home her ninth goal of the season past Kennebunk first-year goalie Liv Kudas (6 saves).
“We’ve had a couple of challenges during the season and we’re still working on getting the goals off the corner and that one was very good,” Simpson said.
Kennebunk (3-2), in its first year back in Class B after a decade of SMAA play, was able to generate a quick response. Using solid transitional offense up the right side and down the middle, the Rams created three penalty corner opportunities.
“Our passing game was more accurate and on target,” Kennebunk Coach Kayla Billings said.
On one penalty corner, Tiff Weeks’ drive was knocked down by a defender, with Olivia Sandford getting a rebound shot on York keeper Olivia Golini (2 saves).
When York defender Allie Lawlor had to thwart another rush with a strong one-on-one poke check and clear, only to have Kennebunk come back again with a player-advantage rush off after a botched penalty corner, Marois called timeout.
Later Marois listed her talking points, during the timeout, during halftime and again after the game for emphasis: “Decisions over the ball when we had free hits, the ball on one side too long when we had it, not transitioning the ball to the opposite side, defensive communications.”
Just over two minutes after the timeout, Madeline Leroux took a Simpson pass and banged in a goal off Kudas’ pads.
The second half was all York. The Wildcats outshot Kennebunk 5-0 (not including Simpson hitting the upper post on a reverse stick shot) and had a 9-0 second-half advantage in penalty corners.
Billings said Kennebunk is most concerned about improving its own abilities and level of play, but along the way the Rams are learning about their new league.
“We need to focus on how we play and not let other teams dictate how we play,” Billings said. “We learned (York has) some very good individual skills, that they can find each other very well and that they have some hard shots.”
Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or at: