Sunday, March 9, 2014
From Staff Reports
Diana Walker’s Sanford High field hockey team is now in uncharted territory. And the veteran coach couldn’t be happier.
The Spartans entered the Western Class A tournament seeded 11th with a 7-7 record. Walker was starting five sophomores and two freshmen. She hoped Saturday’s preliminary round game against Thornton Academy would provide some experience for the future.
It did. Plus some.
The Spartans defeated sixth-seeded Thornton 3-2 on the fourth set of overtime penalty corners on a Makayla Garvin goal. Sanford tied the game with just over three minutes left in regulation.
“This is great,’’ said Walker. “It can only help us. They’ve got tournament experience now. And overtime. And corners.’’
Ah, yes. Corners. There was some confusion among game officials as to how the corners – which are taken in sets of three – should play out. When the game remained tied after two eight-minute sudden death overtimes, officials took out the Maine Principals’ Association bulletin, which states: “A set is three equal opportunity corners.’’ Then there is a notation for “Sudden Victory.’’
So the officials played the game as if each team had to get three penalty corners in each set. After two scoreless sets, Thornton was held without a goal on the first corner of the third set. Sanford then got a goal from Elizabeth Helmreich. The game, according to several observers, should have ended there, as Thornton had an equal opportunity to score.
However, the set continued and Thornton scored on its third penalty corner of the set to tie it.
Walker said she had no idea what the rules were.
“I didn’t even expect to go to overtime with Thornton Academy, so I didn’t even look at overtime (rules),’’ said Walker. “The officials aren’t even having their rules interpretation meeting until Monday. I think we should have had it earlier. My AD (Gordie Salls) came over and said we should protest and I said I wouldn’t know what to protest.’’
In the end, the Spartans won, so a protest wasn’t needed.
“It was just kind of anticlimactic because you don’t know when it’s over,’’ said Thornton Coach Lori Smith.
BIDDEFORD LOST Saturday’s preliminary round game at Westbrook, 1-0, but pressured to the end.
It was the first time the Tigers reached the Western Class A playoffs in Leslie Mourmouras’ four seasons as coach. Biddeford went 7-7 in the regular season after winning a total of six games in Mourmouras’ first three seasons.
Biddeford was shut out in its final four games this year. Mourmouras said that after such significant improvement, she felt her team may have peaked at the wrong time.
“Everyone else is improving little by little and we just hit that plateau,” Mourmouras said. “You just have to change it up a little bit or do something different, and we were just starting to figure out what that was.”
When asked what the strong closing effort said about the program’s future, Mourmouras choked up with emotion.
“The girls who are seniors have been there as long as I have,” Mourmouras said.
The Tigers will lose five seniors, including starting midfielder and captain Alex Quigley and goalie Mackenzie Hevey.
Westbrook Coach Beth Murphy was impressed by Biddeford after her team won and advanced to the quarterfinals Wednesday at No. 2 Massabesic.
“Coming from a team that didn’t have a whole lot of wins, they’ve improved tremendously. She’s got a young team. She’s got a lot of kids coming back,” Murphy said.
WINDHAM COACH Christena Dillon has announced she will step down. The Eagles lost 5-0 to Marshwood in Saturday’s preliminary round, finishing with a 5-10 record. Dillon told Foster’s Daily Democrat after the game she wanted to spend more time with her family after 11 years as coach.
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