The Oak Hill field hockey team started the season by winning two of its first three games. The Raiders, who play in Western C and the Mountain Valley Conference, beat Mountain Valley and Telstar.
“We are very solid defensively,” Oak Hill coach Betsy Gilbert said. “Our midfield and our front line are really starting to connect with passes all the way down the field. Not just a few passes — we’re really making several passes in a row.”
In Wednesday’s 1-0 victory over Telstar, the Raiders had a 22-6 advantage in shots on goal. While Gilbert would like that kind of shot output to produce more than one goal, it’s a good foundation for goals in the future. Gilbert said center midfielder Danielle Samson and Heather Hannigan were the keys to Oak Hill controlling the play.
The defense also has a couple standouts, beginning with sweeper Brooke Surette.
“She has just got great speed, great agility,” Gilbert said. “She reads the ball very well, and she can just go in and attack, and break up the plays coming in.”
In the goal cage, second-year starter Abby Fuller has allowed a total of four goals in three games.
“She has been absolutely phenomenal,” Gilbert said. “That kid has been able to read and cut the angles. She has done really well.”
The Raiders will get a good idea of where they stand in the MVC after their next three games. Dirigo is 0-3-0, but all three losses were to tough teams. After that game Friday, Oak Hill takes on Lisbon and Winthrop, the two teams in last year’s Calss C state final.
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The Maranacook players may not know what to do with themselves in today’s game at Mt. View. For the first time in the regular season, the Black Bears will take on the opposition with a full contingent of 11 players on the field.
Maranacook has 12 players on its roster, and two were injured. Starting wing Lindsay Webber will be back for today’s game.
Because of what coach Tanya Evans termed two players “breaking contract,” Maranacook used only eight players in a 6-0 loss to Maine Central Institute on Friday. The Black Bears used 10 players for most of Monday’s game with Morse, and won 3-2 in overtime. Now, they should be able to play 11-on-11.
“It’s probably going to be a little crowded out there for some of them,” Evans joked.
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Winslow has scored 13 goals in winning each of its first three games. Even better for the Black Raiders, they’ve had at least three players score in each game. In a 5-0 win over Camden Hills on Tuesday, Winslow had five different players with one goal apiece.
“The fact that we’re having different people scoring, rather than relying on one person, has been great,” Winslow coach Mary Beth Bourgoin said. “They’re all trying to step up and contribute.”
With Jordyn Dorval out with an injury, Bethany Winkin has emerged as a defensive leader.
“Bethany Winkin has been just a solid player for four years now, and has been at the center back position for two solid years,” Bourgoin said. “She’s just been awesome.”
Alyssa Wood, Ciera Poulin, and Katie Smith have also played well in the backfield, as has new goalie Delaney Wood. Winslow has not allowed a goal this season.
“The four of them (in the backfield) are just working together very, very well,” Bourgoin said. “Communication has been huge, and then throw in Delaney, who’s been great with her input, and I’m just very happy with how they’re playing together.”
The problem Winslow potentially faces in the future is that the Black Raiders are winning all of their games handily, and it’s hard to see a genuine need for improvement when you win by four or five goals. But Bourgoin is confident that this team is driven.
“We joke that we’ve got a team of perfectionists,” she said. “Even though we’re winning 5-0, they come off the field saying, ‘I have to do this better, and I have to do this better.’ They want to do the work it takes.”
Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243