Following two overtimes, No. 1 Sanford scored the game-winning goal in the third round of penalty corners, defeating fourth seeded Westbrook, 4-3, in the western Maine Class A semifinals Saturday at Goodall Park.

Sanford led, 1-0, at halftime and extended its lead to 2-0 early in the second half. As tough as the Redskins have played all year, a two-goal lead looked big. In the teams’ regular season meeting, Westbrook out shot Sanford but still lost, 2-0.

“We took a timeout when we were down 2-0,” said Westbrook coach Beth Murphy following Saturday’s game. “I said ‘You know what, guys, this is it. You know what you’ve got to do if you want to get there. You’ve got to dig deep, you’ve got to play hard and just keep playing to your potential.'”

In a six-minute span the Blue Blazes proved they weren’t ready for their season to end.

With just under 20 minutes to play Westbrook got on the board. Erin Knott sent a shot toward the cage that found its way through traffic and in for the score.

Three minutes later it was Erin Murphy’s turn. She sent a shot just past the diving Sanford goalie, Drielle Mitchell, and the game was tied.

Another three minutes passed and Alyssa McCarthy scored to give the Blazes their first lead of the game.

“Our thing was, you’ve got to get past that goalie,” said Coach Murphy. “We tried a little bit different strategy as far as where we put our kids in the circle around her. It seemed to work in the second half so I credit the kids for knowing how to outplay that goalie.”

The next 11 minutes ticked by with Redskins trying desperately to score the equalizer. Westbrook appeared to be headed toward an upset as they were able to keep the Sanford forwards at bay.

But with 1:39 left in regulation, McFarland stuffed a rebound into the cage, tying the game at three.

Westbrook had several good chances in the first overtime but were unable to net the game winner. After the second overtime the game was still knotted at 3-3, sending the game into penalty corners.

Neither team could score on their first two attempts. Westbrook’s third attempt resulted in two shots but no goal.

On Sanford’s third attempt they ended the game. Westbrook goalie Jackie Potvin kicked one shot away, but Kassandra Martin stuffed the rebound into the cage and sent the Redskins to the next round.

“We had it and we let it go,” said Sanford coach Diana Martin. “They came back. They fought back and they didn’t give up. They didn’t get down they just kept plugging and that’s what you want them to do. If we’re going to go into the finals, this is the type of game you like to have just before because then they know what it can be like.”

Westbrook had already played one nail-biter in the playoffs, defeating No. 5 Scarborough, 2-1, in overtime Wednesday for the right to play Sanford.

Murphy ended that game just 26 seconds into the first overtime, taking the ball into the circle herself and scoring.

“I was in the circle going towards the goalie. I saw a girl coming towards me and she hacked at it so I just kept pushing through and put it through the goalie’s legs.”

Erin Knott had scored five minutes into the contest to give Westbrook a 1-0 lead.

Scarborough tied the game with 4:16 to play in the first half.

The Blue Blazes had five penalty corners in the final 5:30 of regulation, but were unable to score, sending the game into overtime where Murphy ended it.

At the time, Coach Murphy felt as though the game was Westbrook’s best of the season.

“I have 13 seniors,” said the coach. “They know this is it for them. They fought tooth and nail.”


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