PORTLAND – Six years had passed since Portland High last played in a field hockey playoff game. Saturday’s victory made the wait seem worthwhile.

Senior Kylie Dalbec scored from five yards out after a nifty give-and-go with Eleni Anderson in the fourth set of penalty corners to give the No. 7 Bulldogs a drawn-out 3-2 victory over No. 10 Thornton Academy at Fitzpatrick Stadium.

Portland (10-4-1) has won seven in a row and advances to a Western Class A quarterfinal Tuesday at No. 2 Sanford. Thornton, which overcame a 2-0 halftime deficit to force overtime, finishes 6-9.

“We have a ton of respect for them,” said Portland Coach Beth Arsenault, whose team beat the Trojans 2-0 last month. “We knew this was going to be a 60-minute game. I’m not sure we thought it was going to be 180 minutes, but we knew that they would be tough.”

Portland took a 1-0 lead in the seventh minute when Leanne Reichert converted a rebound after a shot from Raechel Allen. The Bulldogs scored on their next shot — Allen from 12 yards straight on — when Thornton sophomore goalie Gabri-elle Capozzi missed on a kick save.

Even so, the Trojans controlled the ball for long stretches, and their pressure paid off in the second half when Michele Banville twice knocked in crossing passes from Morgan Ouellette-Foss. The first goal came early in the second half, and the tying goal came with more than eight minutes remaining.

With three minutes left, Allen hit the right post after a penalty corner. It was Portland’s only shot in the second half.

Overtime procedure calls for the removal of four players from each side, resulting in less-cluttered 7-on-7 action. Both teams had scoring opportunities in the first 8-minute period, but Capozzi and Portland goalie Rachel Waterhouse stood tall. Capozzi finished with six saves and Waterhouse nine.

In the second OT, a shot from Thornton’s Saleena Boucher hit the left post, and Banville nearly scored again on a quick cross from Boucher.

Then came penalty corners, with each team alternating chances in a set of three. The first three sets — resulting in 12 distinct attempts for Thornton Academy and 14 for Portland — came up empty, with Capozzi sprawling on the turf during one particularly frenzied scramble in front during Portland’s final attempt of the second set.

In the fourth set of corners, Dal-bec connected on Portland’s second attempt, taking the inserting pass from Anderson, sending it back and getting the return. When two teammates raced to the left side as if anticipating a cross, Dalbec instead shot on net and scored.

“We’ve been working on that,” said Dalbec. “Eleni made a really nice pass. She put it right on my stick.”

Staff Writer Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at:

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Twitter: GlennJordanPPH