BIDDEFORD — The Biddeford High field hockey team hasn’t lost a game in almost two years, but the Tigers seldom seem to make things easy.

The Tigers improved to 11-0 on Tuesday evening, turning back a ferocious challenge by previously undefeated Massabesic to win 3-2 at Waterhouse Field. Carley Lovejoy scored the go-ahead goal with 9:13 remaining.

It was the fifth one-goal victory this season for the defending Class A state champs. Biddeford has not lost since a 2-0 defeat to Westbrook in the regional championship game on Oct. 24, 2017, its unbeaten streak reaching 29 games (28-0-1).

“I think it’s really about mental toughness,” said Biddeford Coach Caitlin Tremberth. “We are lucky that we have a lot of returners from last year who have been through similar situations and know the stamina that it takes mentally and physically.”

Junior midfielder Abby Allen agreed that last season’s championship experience is a factor in Biddeford’s success this year.

“I think we’re so together as a team, we’ve been through this all before,” she said. “And we know that we’re the team everyone wants to beat so that’s brought us so close together and we know what our strengths are.”

Still, it was two players without any of that championship experience that ultimately gave the Tigers their latest victory. Lovejoy is a junior forward who transferred to Biddeford from Kennebunk. And freshman goalie Abby Nadeau made a save on a penalty stroke 51 seconds before Lovejoy’s winning goal.

“I felt that (save) gave us a big confidence boost,” said Lovejoy.

“It was a boost of energy for our fans and for everyone,” said Allen.

Biddeford dominated the first half, taking a 2-0 lead on goals by Jayme Walton and Anna Lavigne. Its defense didn’t give up a shot on goal.

But Massabesic (11-1), second in the Class A South Heal points, stormed back after halftime. The Mustangs had 12 penalty corners in the final 30 minutes, scoring off two of them: Isabelle Hurlburt with 22:22 remaining and Anna Snyder with 13:01 left.

“They’ve got tons of grit,” said Massabesic Coach Michele Martin-Moore. “They don’t have quit in their bodies. They believe in each other. They work really hard and they just don’t quit. They won’t. Ever.”

And the Mustangs had a chance to take the lead. With 10:04 remaining, a Biddeford defender blocked a shot on an open net with her leg, giving the Mustangs a penalty stroke.

Snyder took it, her shot going high to Nadeau’s left. Nadeau reached out with her blocker and knocked it down. It was the first penalty stroke of the year for both teams.

“I really think (senior) Meg (Mourmouras) helped a lot, she kind of calmed me down and told me I could do it,” said Nadeau, a former soccer player who switched to field hockey this fall. “I just took a few deep breaths and …”

Less than a minute later, Allen sent a pass up the left side to Lovejoy. As Massabesic goalie Julia Gregoire (12 saves in a magnificent effort) came out to challenge her, Lovejoy lifted the ball over her and it bounced inside the right post to keep the Tigers unbeaten.

Lovejoy now has 14 goals on the season.

“I feel this was the best one,” she said.

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