SOUTH BERWICK – Score early. Score late.

Marshwood High’s field hockey team did both in the first half Tuesday and its two goals were enough to score a key 2-1 Western Class A win against Massabesic.

Marshwood improved to 9-3 with its first win this season against one of the upper-tier teams. Massabesic is now 10-2.

With the game tied 1-1, Marshwood’s Ashley Hickey drove the ball into the Massabesic penalty circle and the play resulted in a Hawk penalty corner chance with 19 seconds left before halftime.

Hickey then let the clock wind to zero before initiating the corner attempt. By rule, a penalty corner must be “played out,” if the call is made before time expired.

Hickey sent a clean pass out to the top of the circle where Marshwood junior Lindsey Poirier was waiting. Poirier made a quick dodge around the Massabesic flyer and then ripped a shot to the lower left corner that Massabesic goalie Abby Greenleaf had no chance of stopping.

“It’s very stressful. We let the clock run out and you could see their defense eyeing you,” Poirier said. “It was just a good insert by Hickey. All my frustration for letting them get back in the game went into that shot.”

Marshwood had lost one-goal games to top-ranked Scarborough and perennial contender Cheverus. They had also lost 1-0 to upstart Gorham last week.

Beating Massabesic improved the Hawks to fourth in the Heal Point standings. A top-four finish is good for a preliminary-round bye.

“A huge win for our team,” Marshwood Coach Lisa Truesdale said, “just emotionally because we had the Gorham loss and there (have) been moments throughout the season where we’ve come up short.”

Marshwood broke on top with a goal by Karissa Boesch just 58 seconds into the contest. That goal also came off a penalty corner, with Boesch’s shot the third try for the Hawks from close range.

Massabesic tied the game with 19:39 left in the half when Jackie Guillemette banged in a tough-angle shot on the Mustangs’ first penalty corner of the game.

Several of the Mustangs’ final seven corners ended without a shot being taken, including their final attempt, earned with less than 40 seconds to play.

Massabesic completed two passes but the ball went six feet out of the circle and Marshwood senior captain Jun Shin swooped in on the play, won the ball and then dribbled to midfield, effectively sealing the win.

“Going out of that goal cage I knew I had to get it and for some reason I had this feeling that I had the fire in me that I was going to get it,” Shin said.

Shin combined with fellow senior captain Suzannah Blass and Erica Connors to deflect the dangerous Massabesic attack for most of the game, keeping Guillemette in check in transition and limiting the Mustangs to one second-half shot on goalie Cassidy Smith (four saves).

“I didn’t feel we played poorly, we just didn’t start with the intensity we need to bring to every game,” Massabesic Coach Michele Martin-Moore said.

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or at:

scraig@mainetoday.com

Twitter: SteveCCraig