CAPE ELIZABETH — Lauren Steidl is one of those athletes who always seems to be in the right place at the right time.
Such was the case Saturday afternoon, as she scored three times to lead Cape Elizabeth to a 3-2 victory over Oak Hill in a Western Class B field hockey prelim at Hannaford Field.
The seventh-seeded Capers (9-6-0) advance to play at No. 2 Fryeburg (12-2) in the quarterfinals Tuesday.
“Lauren’s been a pivotal part of our success this year and has had games like this before,” said Cape Elizabeth coach Darci Holland. “She just has a knack for finding the ball and tipping it in.”
Steidl’s performance was extra special, considering that the Capers were trailing 2-0 before the senior forward got hot.
Despite being dominated for most of the first half, No. 10 Oak Hill (7-8-0) managed to build a lead by scoring on its first two shots.
At the 18:15 mark, Sadie Goulet tipped in a Hayley Marshall offering to give the visitors the lead.
The Raiders, in the postseason for the first time in 22 years, increased the lead eight minutes later on their only penalty corner of the half. A loose ball came free to Heather Hannigan, who beat goalie Julianne Ayers.
“After they scored their second goal, we realized that we had a ton of shots on goal but we hadn’t finished,” Steidl said. “That was when we realized, collectively as a team, that we really needed to step it up a little bit.”
Steidl got the Capers back on even terms by scoring twice in the final 90 seconds of the half.
The first came off a corner with 1:27 left. Aubrey O’Meara received the initial pass and battled a bouncing ball before gaining control and sending a pass to the front of the goal. Steidl was in the right spot to finish the play.
The equalizer came off another corner with no time on the clock. Jane Coffrin played the ball in to Steidl, who beat goalie Abby Fuller with a long shot.
“Our girls played with all heart so I can’t really complain,” Oak Hill coach Brittney Stilphen said. “It’s just part of the game and it happens. I don’t want to say that we thought we had it, but maybe we got a little complacent, and that happens.”
Steidl came up with what turned out to be the winner 6:29 into the second half when she tipped home a Coffrin shot.
Cape Elizabeth continued to dominate play in the second half and outshot the Raiders 11-1. Oak Hill had three corners at the conclusion of regulation, but Cape’s defense held.