From left to right, Kennebunk’s Olivia Sandford, Massabesic’s Emma Desrochers, Sanford’s Allison L’Heureux and Thornton Academy’s Claire Decker.

From left to right, Kennebunk’s Olivia Sandford, Massabesic’s Emma Desrochers, Sanford’s Allison L’Heureux and Thornton Academy’s Claire Decker.

With less two weeks left in the high school field hockey regular season, the cream is starting to rise to the top of the standings ahead of the playoffs. Some local teams find themselves among southern Maine’s elite in Class A and Class B and will be looking for strong finishes to the season.

No local team is hotter than the Massabesic Mustangs, who have won eight straight games since opening the season with two losses. The Mustangs’ best victory of the season to date may have come in their most recent game, as they won a double-overtime thriller against a Cheverus team that opened the season with eight-consecutive wins.

 

 

Massabesic has come a long way since losing its first two games, and now sits second in the Class A South standings. “The girls didn’t get frustrated, but used them as learning opportunities. ‘You can lose the game, but don’t lose the lesson’ was what I told them,” said Massabesic head coach Michele Martin- Moore, “and they took it to heart.”

Martin-Moore said her team had plenty of individual talent coming into the season, but building chemistry after plenty of roster turnover the last two years would be key. That individual talent is starting to show up in the Mustang’s system.

 

 

Sophomore Emma Rutledge has been scoring in bunches, and seniors Maggie Redman and Abbie Staples and junior Emma Desrochers have also contributed to the offense.

That offense was non-existent in a seasonopening loss to rival Sanford. That’s been a common theme when facing the Spartans, who have given up more than one goal just once while getting off to a 7-1-1 start to put them fourth in Class A South.

Sanford’s lone loss was a 1-0 defeat at Cheverus, and the Spartans played highly-ranked Marshwood to a 1-1 tie. Those two games were preceded by a 3-2 victory over Gorham. Since the Cheverus loss, Sanford has given up two goals combined in four games – all wins – and have given up a total of seven goals in nine games.

Wil KRAMLI CH/Journal Tribune File Photos

Wil KRAMLI CH/Journal Tribune File Photos

The Spartans have a senior-laden back line featuring Hannah Rossignol, Payton Orino and Kelsey Conley. Sophomore Amber Singleton and freshman Sarah Nickerson have split time in goal for Sanford.

Sanford hosts 8-2 Thornton Academy in a big late-season clash Saturday. The Trojans’ lone losses came against Cheverus and defending state champion Scarborough.

“The Cheverus game woke us up. After a string of fairly easy games for our team, Cheverus came ready to play and showed us that we needed to step up our level of play. We can’t just cruise through the season,” said Thornton Academy head coach Lori Smith. “The Scarborough game was a reminder that we need to play better defense and be ready against opponent’s quick transition to offense.”

The loss to Scarborough was the only game this season the Trojans haven’t scored at least two goals, and they’re averaging nearly four goals per game.

“We have had a lot of scorers this season, so marking just one player on our team allows others to score,” said Smith. “Libby Pomerleau is our current leading scorer and Grace Pickering, Claire Decker and Emma Dutremble have done a nice job setting up our offense.”

Smith said her team can still work on communicating better on the field. That will be a necessity as they play Sanford, Massabesic and Marshwood in three of its last four games.

Over in Class B South, Kennebunk has also gotten off to a hot start, posting a 7-2-1 record. The Rams have eked out a pair of 1-0 wins over Cape Elizabeth and Lake Region after going through a three-game winless stretch that included one-goal losses to York and Falmouth and a scoreless tie against Yarmouth.

“We realized that we have to stick to our game plan and play to win as opposed to playing not to lose,” Kennebunk head coach Kayla Billings said of what her team learned from the winless stretch.

The Rams averaged more than four goals per game in their first five games – with an offense led by sophomore twins Lindsey and Britney Gregoire and senior Olivia Sandford – but have scored just four goals total in their last four.

While Kennebunk has struggled to score goals as of late, opposing teams have struggled to do so all season. Three-year starting goalie Liv Kudas has posted seven shutouts this season.

The final stretch of games doesn’t get any easier for the Rams, who finish with Fryeburg Academy, Falmouth, Greely and York – all teams firmly in the playoff picture.

“This team has been incredibly resilient. We have faced more adversity this season than any other I have coached,” said Billings. “We will continue to work on playing 60 minutes of intense field hockey each game.”

The regular season for field hockey is scheduled to end Tuesday, Oct. 13. The postseason is scheduled to begin Saturday, Oct. 17. Expect all four of these teams to be still by playing by then – and possibly even longer.

— Sports Staff Writer Wil Kramlich can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 323 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @WilTalkSports.


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