Monday, December 9, 2013
By STEVE CRAIG Staff Writer
WATERBORO - The dapples of burgundy leaves in the trees showed the fall sports season is winding into its latter stages.
So did the intensity on the field, as neighboring rivals Sanford and Massabesic, two of Western Class A's top field hockey teams, battled through regulation and two scoreless overtimes in Thursday's 1-1 tie.
Massabesic sophomore Hannah Patch tied the game when she stayed low and swept in a loose ball with 5:35 left in regulation. Patch had perhaps the best chance to win the game in the second of two seven-on-seven overtime periods but was denied by Sanford goalie Taylor Zuk.
"I was hoping (it would be the winner) but Sanford has a pretty good goalie," said Patch, who started the year playing mostly on the junior varsity.
Sanford (7-3-1) entered the game ranked third in the Heal point standings, with Massabesic (8-1-1) sixth.
"Definitely the momentum was up," Zuk said. "Massabesic was the (team) to beat for us but I'll take a tie over a loss any day. They're just a rival school. They always have been. They're always out to get us and we're always out to get them."
On her 17th birthday, Zuk (10 saves) gave her teammates the gift of a tie by stopping five shots in overtime.
"I was very impressed with Taylor. It was by far her best game," Sanford Coach Diana Walker said. "She had more confidence. She was more sure of what she was going to do with the ball."
In the overtime periods, Massabesic dominated the offensive action, getting four penalty corners to go with its five shots while Sanford did not post a shot or a corner. In the first overtime, Sanford sweeper Salena Helmreich combined with Zuk to keep dangerous Massabesic forwards Jackie Guillemette and Alex Staples scoreless. The one time when neither was in good position to stop a shot, Staples ripped an angled bid wide of the cage.
"We worked hard for that (tie). We deserved that," Zuk said.
In regulation both teams had spells of domination. Massabesic came out fast in the first half and racked up 10 penalty corners, but the Mustangs failed to capitalize on their territorial advantages, getting off only two shots.
At the other end, Sanford cranked eight first-half shots but Massabesic goalkeeper Abby Greenleaf (12 saves) stopped seven and Mustang defender Sarah Cost was on the spot to sweep out the other, an in-tight shot by Spartans' leading scorer Caroline L'Heureux.
L'Heureux was not to be denied on a second-half chance after she tracked down a high-hopping cross from Emily Salls. L'Heureux was able to reach well across her body and reverse stick a strong shot to the opposite corner for a 1-0 lead with 21:10 to play.
"You just can't let it get to you, you can't get down," Patch said.