Thornton Academy’s Cat Henaire looks to get past Sanford’s Emma Bruno during Saturday’s Class A South field hockey prelim game. Pat McDonald/Journal Tribune

SANFORD — The No. 9 Thornton Academy and No. 8 Sanford field hockey teams not only had to battle each other for a spot in the Class A South quarterfinals — the Golden Trojans and Spartans would also need to take down Mother Nature on Saturday afternoon.
The visiting Trojans would get the job done in a steady rain as they used a second-half goal to pick up a 2-1 win over Sanford in a preliminary round showdown.
“It’s pretty big. I mean you can never expect to win a game, you can just hope, so to actually do it definitely gives you energy going into your next game,” said TA junior Jaigan Boudreau, who had one of TA’s goals in the victory.
Boudreau got the Trojans on the board with 11:47 left in the first half when she took a pass from Cat Henaire and put the ball in the back of the cage.
Henaire’s assist would give her the Thornton Academy record for career assists. The mark was previously held by Libby Pomerleau.
Sanford wasn’t going to go down without a fight as the Spartans came back late in the first half to tie the game. Kim Works would send a pass to Ruby LaChance, who finished off a penalty corner opportunity with a goal to make it 1-1 with just 1:49 left in the opening period.
The Trojans would go back on top early in the second half when Olivia Lambert beat the Sanford goalie to make it 2-1.
The TA defense — led by goalie Jenica Botting — would take care of business down the stretch as the Trojans were able to hold off Sanford for the win.
“She’s really explosive in the net and she’s just a great athlete,” said TA coach Lori Smith on Botting, who made several diving saves on Saturday. “She’s a great communicator and she is a competitor. When she came out at the end of that first half she was fired up … she was like prowling her end line.”
The Spartans certainly didn’t let Botting have a relaxing day in the goal.
“It was pretty nerve-wracking because they had girls just crowding the goal,” said Botting. “And also the slippery conditions, it’s really tough staying on your feet.”
Botting and the Trojans (9-5-1) will face another tough test on Tuesday when they face No. 1 Biddeford in the quarterfinals at Waterhouse Field.
“Our kids always get up to play Biddeford. Certainly, (Biddeford) is a good team. We need to pressure and contest every ball in order to keep up with an explosive offense,” said Smith.
The matchup will feature two of the top goalies in the state in Botting and Biddeford’s Taylor Wildes.
“Taylor and Jenica are definitely two of the better goalies, especially down here in our region,” said Smith.
Botting knows the TA defense will have its hands full with the undefeated Tigers.
“(We need to) get to the ball and make sure their dangerous players don’t get the ball that often. We need to mark up and make sure everything is taken care of in the circle, get the ball down and score,” said Botting.
The Spartans, who finished the season at 7-8, had plenty of chances in Saturday’s loss to the Trojans.
“I knew it was going to be a tight game. I thought we outplayed them. We just missed on the opportunities in the circle,” said Sanford coach Diana Walker. “My defense played phenomenal down there. We had the opportunities to score, we just couldn’t finish.”
Walker had plenty of praise for her six seniors — Jada Kimball, Valentina Drown, MacKenzie Tierney, Maya Joy, Brittney Courtois and Works — who she credits with bringing a better attitude to the program.
“My seniors have done a super job this year,” said Walker. “I think (the senior class) got us going in a more positive mode and more team-oriented mode. They worked together … no one was trying to do it as an individual.”
NOTES: Sanford’s Jordan Benvie made five saves in the loss … Sanford held an 11-3 advantage in penalty corners … The Class A South quarterfinal clash between Biddeford and Thornton Academy is scheduled for a 5:30 p.m. start on Tuesday.
Sports Editor Pat McDonald can be reached at [email protected] or at 780-9017. Follow the Journal Tribune Sports Department on Twitter @JournalTsports.

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