ORONO – A year ago, the North Yarmouth Academy field hockey team was favored to win the Class C state title but lost to Dexter.

Saturday, those players returning from that team gained some redemption.

Megan Fortier’s goal on the third set of overtime penalty corners lifted the Panthers to the title with a 2-1 win over Foxcroft Academy at the University of Maine.

The teams were scoreless through regulation and two overtimes before moving to penalty corners. Both teams scored on the second set, then the Panthers got the one that ended the game.

“Most of the girls from last year were really psyched for us and sent us e-mails and stuff about how they really wanted us (to win) and that pushed us a lot,” said Kylie Dalbec, who had a goal and assist. “We wanted to win it for them. And our seniors are great this year, and we wanted to do it for each other.”

It was an exhausting game, physically and mentally, with each team getting chances in regulation and overtime, where teams take four players off the field to open it up offensively.

But the defenses held, and Foxcroft goalie Cassie Curtis made some impressive stops. So it went into penalty corners.

Neither team scored on the first set. Then NYA got a goal on the second set. Katie Millett had the ball on the right and passed across to Dalbec at the left post, Dalbec injured her left side in the first overtime and barely played in the second, but all she had to do was tuck the ball in.

The Ponies (11-6-1) had to score on their second corner to keep the game going. Tia Tondreau inserted the ball to Jennifer Seavey at the top of the circle. Her shot was stopped, but the ball rolled behind goalie Mariah Farrell. As she attempted to gather it in, Tondreau reached in and swept it into the net.

The Panthers (16-1) then switched things up in the third set of corners, going to a play they seldom use in a game but practice daily.

“One of the corners that we do most often was not working very well, so we switched it up,” said Fortier. “And we went to a corner that we almost never do in a game. It was good.”

Millett inserted the ball from the left to Frances Leslie. She passed to Dalbec on the right, who looked for Fortier in the middle. “Megan’s great at putting the ball in,” said Dalbec.

Fortier’s shot was low to the right and just caught the corner.

“Honestly, they just told me where to go, I was there and Kylie gave it right to me,” said Fortier. “It was perfect.”

The Ponies had to score again, but Gabrielle Henderson’s shot was blocked. After a short scrum, the ball was blown dead.

“We just knew we had to keep going,” said Millett. “At times we caught ourselves not playing as hard as we wanted.”

It was NYA’s second championship in three years.

“They deserved it,” said Panthers Coach Julia Sterling. “They worked so hard, from Aug. 18 to Oct. 30, six days a week. That’s a lot to ask for. These girls have a lot on their plate. And every practice they give their heart, their energy and their spirit.”

“We had a great season,” said Seavey. “I’m so proud of everyone. We surpassed everyone’s expectations.”

 

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