WATERBORO — Massabesic High’s touted and senior-laden field hockey team pushed off the weight of past playoff failures with Wednesday’s 1-0 quarterfinal victory against Westbrook in the Western Class A tournament.
“The weight for the first round is gone. Now the weight for the second round is on. But it’s definitely a different feeling,” said forward Jackie Guillemette.
Guillemette’s sprawling whack at a loose ball finished off a transition opportunity with 4:58 left in the first half to give second-seeded Massabesic (13-2) its goal.
Westbrook goalie Nicole Miranda had already stopped eight shots, including a flashing right pad save on Logan Provencher’s penalty stroke in the eighth minute. Miranda finished with 20 saves. The seventh-ranked Blue Blazes (9-7) put three shots on Massabesic keeper Abby Greenleaf.
“I think we should have scored more but their goalie was incredibly hot today,” Massabesic Coach Michele Martin-Moore said. “And of course we had the bouncing balls that went just wide, which have been the story of our season so far.”
In past years those near misses would have led to disappointment. A penalty stroke stopped might have been an emotional downer.
Massabesic has seven senior starters who have been playing on the varsity since their freshman or sophomore seasons.
While successful in previous regular seasons, they had not been able to get past the quarterfinals.
“They’ve been able to not let things like that bother them, which I think is the difference between teams. They don’t let disappointment bother them. They just keep going. They keep playing,” Martin-Moore said.
Massabesic will be home at 2 p.m. Saturday against No. 3 Falmouth in the semifinals.
Miranda, aided by a strong defensive presence of Julia Patrie, kept Westbrook’s comeback hopes alive.
The Blue Blazes played much of the game without center forward Micaela LeBeau, who twice had to leave with a sprained ankle, only to return. Katie Berry’s decisive play in the middle of the field and the drives of Kerigan Demers did give Westbrook forays into the offensive end but they resulted in minimal shots.
More often the strong Massabesic midfield of Alex Staples, Bailey Ohman, Lexi Foglio and Provencher were able to stop Westbrook’s attack before the pressure became too severe.
Staples halted a final Westbrook rush with about 15 seconds left. Provencher was a key creator of offense and a tempo-setter throughout the game.
Defender Kari Ledoux overcame an early injury and helped defuse a couple of dangerous-looking Westbrook rushes.
“Definitely (Massabesic) is more skilled but these kids fought hard. They never gave up,” Westbrook Coach Beth Murphy said.
“It’s a pretty good game for this group, for sure. They may not understand it but I certainly do.”
Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or at: