WATERVILLE — In Andrea Thebarge’s five seasons as field hockey coach at Thomas College, the Terriers had been unable to beat the University of Maine at Farmington. Thebarge and her players were well aware of this, and the normally low-key coach suffered through every twist during Wednesday evening’s game.
“I didn’t think I was going to make it,” Thebarge said. “I thought I was going to have a heart attack on the sideline.”
In the second half, Thomas went ahead, lost the lead, and finally got the game-winner when Messalonskee graduate Miranda Tinsman scored with 6:35 left to give the Terriers a 2-1 North Atlantic Conference victory.
It rained for much of the game, but the turf field kept that from being a real factor. While the win was an upset for Thomas (4-7 overall, 2-3 NAC), it wasn’t like the Terriers played over their heads.
“Actually, today wasn’t one of our best games,” Tinsman said.
“I absolutely agree,” Thebarge said. “We had a couple key people who were kind of off their game today. We usually do a small passing game, and that really wasn’t very evident today.”
The Beavers had the advantage in shots (11-6) and penalty corners (10-5). Thebarge splits time between goalies Sofia Sourgiadakis and Jasmine Bishop, but Sourgiadakis played so well in the first half that Thebarge let her play the entire game.
“I think the difference in a field hockey game is a lot of little things that people don’t necessarily notice,” said UMF coach Cyndi Pratt, whose team is now 3-5-0 overall and 3-1-0 in the conference. “Little turnovers, or one breakdown on the defensive end results in a goal. They took advantage of the chances that they had, and we didn’t.”
Tinsman fed Brittany Premo for a goal and a 1-0 Thomas lead 3:38 into the second half. With 19:45 left in the game, the Terriers almost made it 2-0, but a long shot by Winslow graduate Michelle Greene kicked off the right post.
UMF tied the score on a disputed play with 15:09 left. There is a new rule in college play this year that if the ball goes in after it touches anyone in the circle — not just an offensive player — then it is a goal. The Beavers got an “own goal” when their shot from outside the circle deflected in the cage, but Thebarge argued the player hadn’t traveled the required five yards before sending the ball into the circle.
The Terriers settled down and cashed in their last good chance. On a penalty corner, Tinsman was supposed to receive the insertion pass at the top of the circle, but it hopped past her. Maranacook graduate Ally Kennedy, who was a few yards back, got the ball and quickly sent it to Tinsman, who fired a shot just inside the right corner of the cage with 6:35 to go.
UMF had two penalty corners in the final two minutes, but came up empty. At the final whistle, the Terriers bench players dashed on to the field to celebrate as a group.
“It’s really big,” Tinsman said. “It gives us some motivation, and builds our confidence.”
Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243