Lisbon High School field hockey coach Julie (Wescott) Petrie and her players react after the Greyhounds defeated Winthrop in the 2012 Class C title game in Orono. Portland Press Herald file photo

Editor’s note: This is the latest installment of our series, “Remember When,” in which we revisit some of the memorable games, events, streaks and runs in high school spring sports we’ve covered over the last few decades.

 

LISBON — The Lisbon field hockey team had one objective entering the 2012 season: Winning a state title.

The Greyhounds dropped a hard-fought battle to North Yarmouth Academy in the 2011 Western Class C semifinals, which set the tone for the following season.

And the Greyhounds delivered. With some tough determination and a deep cast of talented players, Lisbon secured its first state title in program history with a 2-1 victory over Winthrop in the Class C championship game in Orono.

The Greyhounds finished 17-0-1.

When a small town like Lisbon with a population of over 9,000 wins a state championship, it’s a big deal. Hanna Jordan, a key contributor on the 2012 team, remembers just how big of a deal it was at the time. 

“A lot of people made the drive to Orono to watch the game,” said Jordan, who would go on to play at Husson University in Bangor. “When we got back into town, the police and fire department created an escort for us; it was an awesome night.”

Added Ari Kahler, who went to play at Saint Joseph’s College in Standish: “It felt like half the town was there. It was great to have all of the fans supporting us.”

The Lisbon High School field hockey team celebrates after it defeated Winthrop in the 2012 Class C title game in Orono. Portland Press Herald file photo

After rolling through an undefeated regular season, Lisbon again ran into NYA, this time in the Class C West regional title game. It was Lisbon’s first regional title game appearance in program history.  

The Greyhounds earned redemption, with a 1-0 victory to reach the state title game.

Lisbon ended the Panthers four year regional title reign behind a goal off the stick of Molly Nicholson that came late in the second half.

“I think beating NYA gave our team all the confidence we needed to go into the title game,” said Lisbon coach Julie (Wescott) Petrie.

Coach Petrie was in only her second season as varsity coach in 2012, but she had come up from the middle school level. Some players ended up playing under Petrie for seven years. 

“I think that me knowing a lot of the girls already made my job a lot easier when coaching the team,” Petrie said. 

“Having coach in middle school helped us when advancing to the next level,” Kahler added. “We went undefeated one season in middle school, so we wanted to carry that winning tradition on in high school.”

Nicholson, who was a sophomore at the time, recalled the motivation Lisbon had entering the regional playoffs after it dropped the Mountain Valley Conference title game to Winthrop.

“We finished undefeated and went into the MVC tournament but lost to Winthrop,” Nicholson said. “That loss motivated us even more. We didn’t want to feel how we felt when we lost again. I think it also helped to get the monkey off our back of going undefeated before the postseason tournament began.”

Jordan remembered the loss vividly.

“I remember thinking after the game that just because we were winning doesn’t mean we were the best, it made us work even harder,” Jordan said. 

Coach Petrie agreed.

“That loss was a wake up call for everyone on the team, including myself,” Petrie said. “After that game, we put our pedal to the metal and became even more team oriented.”

When the time came to play Winthrop again, there was plenty more at stake — the Class C title game on a warm Saturday afternoon at the University of Maine. 

“We felt like we were the rookies on the big stage,” said Petrie. “The girls were anxious and excited, we felt like we were putting small town Lisbon on the map.”

Kahler scored just over a minute into the championship game to give the Greyhounds a 1-0 lead. Kahler said her parents hadn’t even arrived before she scored. 

“My parents told me they arrived about 10 minutes into the game, and they didn’t even know I had scored until someone else told them,” Kahler said. 

Jordan doubled the Lisbon lead early into the second half, but Winthrop would not go quietly. 

The Ramblers scored with a little over five minutes remaining to cut the lead in half, but after Petrie called a timeout, the Greyhounds tightened up defensively to thwart a comeback bid. 

Petrie recalled the final minutes of the game as the longest 10 minutes of her life.

Lisbon High School field hockey captains, from left, Jennifer Smith, Bailey Madore and Olivia Harrington celebrate the Greyhounds defeated Winthrop in the 2012 Class C title game in Orono. Portland Press Herald file photo

“Those final minutes felt like they took forever. I remember I just kept telling the girls not to draw a penalty and play good defense,” Petrie said. “I don’t really remember what happened moments after the final buzzer sounded, it was so surreal.”

The victory still resonates today.

While Kahler continued her career at the collegiate level, she said nothing compared to her high school experience.

“College was a lot different than playing in high school,” Kahler said. “Not to say I didn’t love playing in college, but it just wasn’t the same as playing in high school.”

“That whole starting lineup had so much chemistry and were a really tight knit group,” Jordan added. “I’m still close friends with most of the girls from that team.”

The 2012 Lisbon field hockey team is still hailed throughout town as one of the school’s most prolific teams. The title also helped turn the field hockey program into a contender for years to come.

“It was definitely the biggest thing to happen when I was in high school, and I think it turned Lisbon into a field hockey town,” Kahler said. 

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