Sunday, December 8, 2013
By Steve Craig, Staff Writer
It's a pretty simple formula this year for the York High field hockey team: Shut out the opponent and wait for Taylor Simpson to score a goal.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Staci Swallow, Cheverus junior: The Stags' center midfielder had a five-goal, two-assist week as Cheverus remained unbeaten. Swallow scored twice in a 4-1 win against Bonny Eagle, had two assists in a 3-1 win at Massabesic, and added three goals in Saturday's 7-1 win against Portland.
Taylor Simpson, York junior: With three goals and an assist, Simpson factored in every York goal as the Wildcats beat Falmouth (1-0), NYA (2-0) and Wells (1-0).
Skye Dole, Fryeburg Academy junior: Scored two goals in a 3-1 win against Greely and the winner in 2-1 victory against Falmouth for the unbeaten Raiders.
AREA TOP FIVE
4. Fryeburg Academy
York has just eight goals this season but entered the week at 5-1 and third in the Western Class B Heal point standings. Simpson, a junior center forward, has factored in each goal, scoring six and assisting on the other two.
Last year Simpson was an opportunistic left forward. Current University of New Hampshire player Cari Posternak filled the role of offensive linchpin the past three years (54 goals, 53 assists).
"I knew I was going to have to work harder, but my forwards have stepped it up more in the past games, which has helped me get my goals," Simpson said.
York Coach Barb Marois said Simpson has adapted her game.
"This year it's more relying on her stick skills to create those opportunities," Marois said.
In a 1-0 win against Falmouth, Simpson flashed that skill. Stopped on a traditional right-handed push, Simpson collected the rebound in traffic and flipped a reverse-stick lift into the cage.
Senior captain Tori Stocks said she's seen Simpson grow in other ways, too.
"She's really come into her own on the field. She takes much more of a leadership role, which is great," Stocks said. "She's a really positive motivator. It's nice to have someone out there that really knows the game. This is her primary sport."
Simpson trains with the New England Hockeymates, a program based in Durham, N.H., under the direction of former UNH, Yale and Northwestern head coach and U.S. national assistant coach Marisa Didio.
This November she will be attending the National Hockey Festival in Bradenton, Fla., with a team from Seacoast (N.H.) United.
Simpson says the credit for York's strong start really goes to Marois. The defending regional champions graduated 11 players from last year.
"We play at game speed (in practice). We don't give up on the ball and our coach is a very good coach. She helps us," Simpson said. "She told us this year was going to be hard but she knew we could do it. So far we haven't let her down too much."
WINS WILL BE hard to come by, but this season has already been a success for Lincoln Academy. In 2009 the Eagles forfeited a game because they had only eight players. That led to a two-year stint as a JV-only program. This season the program is back in Western Class B with a 26-girl roster under the direction of co-coaches Amanda Armstrong and Mary Martha Collins.
Lincoln Academy is 0-6 and has scored one goal. Each loss has been by five or more goals. What Collins chooses to emphasize is the enthusiastic fan/parent support and increased participation in all girls' sports.
"There's been a wonderful rejuvenation with girls' sports this year," said Collins, who also co-coaches girls' lacrosse with Armstrong. "There's about 40 girls playing soccer. The girls that are coming up, they're enthusiastic."
SCARBOROUGH COACH Kerry Mariello said her team's 1-0 win at Sanford on Thursday can be credited to a substitution she didn't even see happen.
Mariello said she did not see Rose Kirsch come off with an injury because it happened behind the play in an intense game made more confusing by crowding around the bench.
While other players tried unsuccessfully to get Mariello's attention, junior Sarah Huber alertly entered the game.
"She took the initiative on her own and within about three minutes she scored the winning goal," Mariello said.
GAME(S) OF THE WEEK: Wednesday's Scarborough at Cheverus game will be a battle of the last unbeaten teams in Western Class A. No. 2 Scarborough (7-0) has already beaten top contenders Sanford and Marshwood. No. 1 Cheverus (8-0) beat No. 5 Marshwood (6-2) on Monday.
"It's going to be who wants to finish first or second in the regular season," Mariello said. "It's a great rivalry for us and they always bring a tough competitive game, and we're ready ... because we've had these two games to help us in that sense."
Staff Writer Steve Craig can be contacted at 791-6413 or at: