WESTBROOK — A year ago, Westbrook High’s field hockey team scored only 19 goals in a non-playoff season. This fall, senior forward Sarah Howard seems intent on scoring that many goals herself.

Howard scored three goals for the second consecutive game as the Blue Blazes remained unbeaten with a 3-1 victory over winless South Portland on Tuesday afternoon. She now has seven goals on the season, while the Blazes have scored 16 in four victories.

“They were juniors last year and didn’t quite have the confidence to be leaders,” said Coach Beth Murphy. “They knew coming in, it was either do or die, you’re either going to do well or

“You’ve always got those good players who want to do well (for themselves). But this group has proved in the last few games it’s all about them, or us.”

The Blazes controlled play throughout, getting 20 penalty corners to just eight for South Portland, as well as outshooting the Riots 27-4.

But the Riots got 24 saves from goalie Lani Edwards, as well as stout defensive play from Michelle Callow (who made two defensive saves, blocking shots on an open net) and Christine Nguyen (who continually cleared loose balls in front of the net).

“I thought this was the first game we played as a team,” said Heather Seavey, the coach at South Portland. “But we couldn’t convert as much as we needed on the offensive end. But I thought we played well.

“We’re coming together.”

The Riots had issues with Westbrook’s speed. The Blazes front line is scary fast and often broke out on 4-on-2 or 3-on-1 rushes.

“We can thank Beth for that,” said Howard. “She works us really hard.”

Westbrook led 2-0 at the half, as Howard scored with 22:02 remaining and then again with 12:55 left. Each goal was assisted by Olivia Marsden.

On the first one, Marsden carried the ball up the right, then passed across to Howard, uncovered at the left post. She knocked it in for the 1-0 lead. The second goal came off a penalty corner.

Howard inserted the ball from the left of the goal to Marsden at the top of the circle. She passed back to Howard at the left post and she lifted the ball past the defense.

“Returning makes it a lot easier,” said Howard. “We’ve played with each other for so long, we know where we’re going to be.”

“We pass, we work on it, and that’s what’s important,” said Marsden. “Keep your head up and know where your teammates are.”

South Portland (0-3) cut the deficit to 2-1 when Felicia Farnham scored from Brianna Bower 1:37 into the second half.

But the Blazes turned back the Riots’ attempts, and got a third goal from Howard with 18:05 remaining, assisted by Melissa Pettis, to remain undefeated.

“We hoped (to win these games),” said Marsden. “We came into the season not knowing what was going to happen. We thought we looked good but who knows what else is out there?”


Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at: [email protected]