Monday, May 20, 2013
By Mike Lowe email@example.com
SCARBOROUGH – Julie Wescott pulled Molly Nicholson out of the game early in the second half and had a very simple – but direct – message for her: "Keep your stick down."
One trophy down and the Lisbon High field hockey team hopes there’s one more to come, earning the Western Class C championship plaque Tuesday by dethroning North Yarmouth Academy 1-0 at Scarborough. Lisbon will meet Winthrop for the state title Saturday at Orono.
Photos by John Ewing/Staff Photographer
Linnea Hull of North Yarmouth Academy looks to control the field hockey ball in front of Bailey Cutler of Lisbon. NYA fell short in seeking its third consecutive state championship.
WHO: Lisbon vs. Winthrop
WHEN: Saturday, time TBA
WHERE: UMaine, Orono
Nicholson, a sophomore forward on Lisbon High's field hockey team, didn't have to be told twice.
Minutes after she re-entered, Nicholson scored the game's only goal as the top-ranked Greyhounds ended North Yarmouth Academy's four-year dominance of Western Class C field hockey with a 1-0 victory at the Mitchell Sports Complex.
"I can't even tell you what this means to our program," said Wescott.
Lisbon (16-0-1) will make its first appearance in the Class C state title game Saturday against Winthrop, the Eastern champ, at the University of Maine, the time to be determined. The teams played to a 1-1 tie in the regular season.
NYA won the last two state championships and three of the last four while capturing the regional title each time. The second-ranked Panthers finished 14-3.
Among NYA's playoff wins a year ago was a semifinal decision over Lisbon, a game decided on penalty corners.
"They went on to win the states," said Wescott, "so we knew we could compete with the best in Class C. We played all summer together, they were dedicated and we worked all season to just chip away and put ourselves in the best position to be the best we can be.
"We used that as motivation to get here and get where we're going Saturday."
Lisbon dominated the game statistically and territorially. The Greyhounds had a 9-3 advantage in penalty corners (getting the last nine) and a 9-2 edge in shots.
That was interesting given that NYA plays its home games on artificial turf, not Lisbon.
But the Panthers looked out of sync all game, hesitating to strike the ball or overrunning it.
"I can't tell you why, I wish I could," said NYA Coach Tracy Quimby. "We tried to figure it out ourselves You've got to give credit to Lisbon. We knew coming in they were going to have a great team and they did a great job. We just couldn't quite get it going."
Still, goalie Elizabeth Coughlin kept the Panthers in it with a couple of good saves in the first half. But Lisbon finally broke through in the second.
Hanna Jordan started the winning play with a long hit from the left side, the ball deflecting off a defender's stick – dropping right in front of Nicholson, hustling down the middle.
She one-timed the ball into the far corner with 18:57 remaining and it was 1-0.
"She is so talented, she has the fire," said Wescott of Nicholson. "I just told her (when she took her out of the game), on this surface, 'You have to have your stick down.' And she just looked at me and said, 'All right.'
"When I see that look in her eyes, she's ready to go back in the game."
Nicholson said Wescott's little talk "put my head back in the game. It got me focused."
When the ball deflected in front of her, Nicholson's only thought was, "Don't miss."
She didn't. And the Greyhounds are moving on.
"We put our heart and soul into this," said Bailey Madore, a senior midfielder who helped contain NYA's offense.
"We deserved this."
Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at: firstname.lastname@example.org