WATERBORO — This was the game that the Massabesic High field hockey players had been waiting for. And they weren’t going to let it get away.

The second-ranked Mustangs scored three late goals, two by Emma Rutledge, to defeat seventh-seeded Thornton Academy 3-0 in a Class A South field hockey quarterfinal Wednesay night.

The Trojans had defeated Massabesic 4-1 on Sept. 27. That loss clearly fueled the Mustangs in the rematch.

“They were way more aggressive than our first meeting,” said Thornton Coach Lori Smith. “They definitely challenged every ball when we had it, which we didn’t see last time. They were ready.”

Yes they were.

“We definitely came out as a team today, knowing what our goal was,” said Logan Champlin, a Massabesic forward. “We didn’t want this to be our last (game). On to the next.”

The Mustangs (13-2) will play sixth-ranked Westbrook in the regional semifinals Saturday, the time still to be determined. Massabesic defeated the Blazes 2-1 on Oct. 5.

The Trojans (10-6) had a couple of good opportunities in the first half – the best a shot by Cat Henaire that got behind Mustangs goalie Mady Pomerleau but was blocked by sweeper Lydia Wasina at the goal line – but were overwhelmed in the second half.

“That’s just field hockey,” said Smith. “You get one in and it changes the momentum of the game.”

The Trojans couldn’t.

Massabesic held Thornton without a shot in the second half and to just three penalty corners. The Mustangs, meanwhile, had seven shots and eight penalty corners in the second half.

“I think we just had to collect ourselves at halftime,” said Rutledge. “Coach (Michele Martin-Moore) brought us all in and told us we had to up our intensity and cut to the ball, and we just took those points to heart.”

But the Mustangs couldn’t beat Thornton’s freshman goalie Madi Vachon until just 13:21 remained.

The goal came at the end of a penalty corner. Logan Champlin got a pass from Morgan Pike on the right and fired the ball into a crowd. Camryn Champlin was there to deflect it in for a 1-0 lead.

Just over two minutes later, Rutledge made it 2-0, again off a corner.

This goal came on a tip-in at the goal mouth on a cross pass from Isabelle Hurlburt on the right.

Rutledge inserted the ball to start the play, then took her position at the left post.

“As the inserter I always go to the post after,” she said. “Being in the right position, don’t let it go out of bounds.”

Rutledge scored again with 28 seconds remaining, assisted by Camryn Champlin, again off a corner.

Each game, Martin-Moore hands out notes to her players emphasizing a specific goal. The notes Wednesday were in the shape of an oak leave.

“We read the poem about the mighty oak,” said Martin-Moore. “And the wind can blow and it can knock our leaves off and can bend our branches but our roots are thicker than that. And our roots are our tradition.

“We now have that tradition on our side that knows how to win tight games. And the girls took that to heart.”

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

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Twitter: MikeLowePPH