YORK — The path to the Class B South field hockey final turned out to be winding and difficult for York, the three-time defending state champion.

Still, thanks to deft stickwork from Sydney Bouchard, the top-seeded Wildcats made it for the 10th straight year.

Bouchard weaved around three defenders and scored 2:15 into the second overtime Friday to give York a 2-1 semifinal victory over fifth-seeded Lake Region.

The Wildcats advanced to Tuesday’s regional final against third-ranked Poland at Thornton Academy in Saco.

“It was just really exciting to have it go our way,” said Bouchard, bottled up much of the game by double teams. “I saw the goalie coming out at me. I don’t know why I shot it right at her but it went through (her pads), so that was pretty lucky.”

Winless a year ago, Lake Region (8-8) gave the perennially powerful Wildcats all they could handle. After giving up a disputed goal in the final minute of the first half, Lake Region tied it a little over two minutes into the second when Dessi Berry buried the rebound of an Olivia Deschenes shot.

Although York was on the attack for much of regulation and enjoyed a 13-2 advantage in penalty corners, the seven-on-seven overtime periods offered chances for both teams. York held a 3-2 edge in penalty corners in overtime.

“I’m really proud of how far we’ve come,” said Deschenes, who missed all of last season with a knee injury. “A lot of people didn’t think that we could do it. We put up a fight (Friday). We did everything we could and we just fell short.”

With time winding down in the first half, Jessa Smith of York crossed the ball from right to left in front of Lake Region goalie Maddie Nelson, who finished with 10 saves. The pass hopped over the stick of Bouchard but Barbara Conratd, a Belgian exchange student who hadn’t scored all season, rapped it inside the left post.

Lake Region defender Allie Vogel stopped the ball and teammate Victoria Ross cleared it away, but Bouchard had begun celebrating. After a moment of confusion, the officials signaled goal.

“Not a goal,” said Lake Region Coach Pauline Webb, who watched from the sideline nearest the net. “The whole ball must go over the line. That ball was not over the line. It’s very unfortunate to lose a game like that.”

Ross said the ball “was barely on the line. It didn’t go over.”

Bouchard said she empathized.

“If it was on our goal, I probably would have fought it, too, because it was a close call,” she said. “But it definitely went over the line.”

Friday’s game was the third of the season between York and Lake Region. All three wound up 2-1 York victories, the last two settled in overtime.

“It was pretty evenly matched,” York Coach Barb Marois said. “They work really hard. They’re very tenacious and very aggressive in how they play the game.”

“They’ve been working and improving every practice, every game,” Webb said of her Lakers.

“This is what we wanted. We were hoping for a different outcome but I’m really proud of them.”

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or

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