MT. ARARAT’S Madison Stover, right, defends against Brunswick’s Anna Rider in a “Battle of the Bridge” field hockey showdown in Brunswick on Thursday. The Eagles won, 2-1.

MT. ARARAT’S Madison Stover, right, defends against Brunswick’s Anna Rider in a “Battle of the Bridge” field hockey showdown in Brunswick on Thursday. The Eagles won, 2-1.

BRUNSWICK

Knowing each other so well, the Brunswick and Mt. Ararat field hockey players, coaches, and even the fans know the game is going to be a hard-fought battle regardless of the way the season has gone.

Mt. Ararat took an early lead and held off a pesky Brunswick attack towards the end, taking a 2-1 Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference victory over its cross-town rivals.

The Eagles took the first meeting in Topsham, 2-0, earlier this month.

“Another good battle between Mt. Ararat and Brunswick. It’s always good to come here and compete,” said Mt. Ararat coach Krista Chase.

Mt. Ararat wasted no time putting the ball in the back of the net. Just 54 seconds into the game, Abby Malbon scored off an assist from Abby Hagan, putting the visiting team up 1-0 quickly.

Although the Dragons surrendered the first goal, they were aggressive offensively, putting several shots on net and earning consecutive corners 10 minutes into the half. Brunswick’s Anna Rider used her speed to put pressure on Eagles goalie Lily Schenk with three shots over a four-minute span that the sophomore goalie turned away.

“I’ve trained Lily to be aggressive and get up on that ball, she kept us in the game today,” said Chase. “I’ve always trained my goalies to do that. I want aggressive goalies, they’re the most important player on the field.”

It wasn’t until midway through the half when Mt. Ararat got its first corner, but the Dragons defense was strong, led by Eliza Rudalevidge, Maggie Folsom and Rosie White. They cleared the ball from the circle and kept it away from goalie Ainsley Harrower. They only allowed two more shots on goal in the half, including a save from Harrower with 25 seconds remaining.

“Those girls are solid on defense for us,” said Brunswick coach Karin Paquin. “For Rosie, this was a big change for her. She’s used to playing on the forward line, but I needed someone solid on the back line. We’ve been building on ‘fluidity’ this year, our players need to be able to play any position since they always play offense and defense during the game.”

Despite trailing 1-0, the Dragons outshot Mt. Ararat 6- 3 and held the advantage in corners 4-2.

Eagles double lead

Opening the second half, Mt. Ararat came out with a little more aggressiveness than it displayed in the first half. Sophomore Holly Temple seemed to be everywhere, often intercepting Brunswick’s attempts to cross midfield, always ready to hit the ball after a whistle on the opposing team.

“She runs our offensive plays for us. She’s a big hitter,” said Chase.

After firing a pair of shots on goal, the Eagles’ third shot found the back of the cage. Annie Wilkins passed to Hagan and the junior scored the second goal just over a minute into the half for the 2- 0 lead.

Meanwhile, the Eagle defense was keeping the ball away from the net. Sweeper Katherine Trebilcock was strong for Mt. Ararat, breaking up a run by Brunswick’s Lauren Jacobs, knocking the ball up field and then assisting her teammates on another Brunswick rush with 18 minutes remaining.

“We work on our marking to keep their scorers away. We were all communicating with each other today, knocking the ball out,” said Trebilcock.

With seven- and- half minutes remaining, Brunswick lined up for its second corner of the half. Hollie Imperato put the ball in front of the net and Rider picked it up, crossing it in front and past Schenk for the Dragons goal.

“After it was shot across from the corner, I saw the ball in the air and let it settle and went for it,” said Rider. “ I saw the goalie step out and I saw the opening, driving it to the far corner.”

Coming out of a timeout with just over two minutes remaining, Brunswick was able to keep the ball in its offensive end with good stick handling in the middle. With under a minute remaining, Grace Casey was able to flip the ball into the circle where Erin Coughlin was able to get a stick on it and put a shot on goal, only to have Schenk record her second save of the half with 38 seconds left to preserve the victory.

“We’re coming down to last second games. Every game a team has to lose. I don’t like it was us but I’m happy with the level that we played,” said Paquin. “We had a goal to score on a corner today and we did, so I look at these little successes as a positive thing for our team. We’re small in numbers and young so we’re building on things.”

Brunswick held a slight edge in shots, 9-7 and each team had six corners.

“Not to make any excuses, but we’re battling some sickness and injuries and we’ve had a couple of road games including last night’s long bus ride (Camden Hills), so I’m happy with how we came out to play today,” added Chase.

Mt. Ararat 2, Brunswick 1

At Brunswick

Mt. Ararat 1 1 2
Brunswick 0 1 1

Goals — (MtA) Abby Malbon, Abby Hagan, (B) Anna Rider. Assists — (MtA) Abby Hagan, Annie Wilkins, (B) Hollie Imperato. Shots on goal — Brunswick 9, Mt. Ararat 7. Saves — (MtA) Lily Schenk 8; (B) Ainsley Harrower 5. Corners — Mt. Ararat 6, Brunswick 6. Records — Mt. Ararat 5-3. Brunswick 2-6. Up next for Eagles — Tuesday at home against Bangor, 4 p.m. Up next for Dragons — Monday at home against Hampden Academy, 4 p.m.


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