HAMPDEN — Winslow came so close, so many times. When it was over, coach Mary Beth Bourgoin spoke for all the players and fans, when it was clear she couldn’t believe her team hadn’t scored a goal.
In contrast, Foxcroft scored on its first shot of the game, as sophomore Madison Fadley converted a penalty corner with 16 minutes, 29 seconds left in regulation, giving the Ponies a 1-0 victory in the Eastern C field hockey final at the Weatherbee Complex.
“We had our opportunities, first half,” Bourgoin said. “How those balls did not get over that line …”
“But defensively, they’re a great team. They passed very well today. I think, for us, we never got that going.”
Winslow had most of the chances in the first half and dominated most of the flow. But the Black Raiders kept getting stonewalled by Foxcroft’s defense. Time and again, Foxcroft’s two fliers raced out and disrupted a Winslow penalty corner before it could start.
“That’s the discussion we had at halftime: You’ve got to get the corners out, and they’ve got to be crisp. They had two fliers and you need to adjust to that,” Bourgoin said.
The Raiders also had two chances to stuff in a shot on the post, but either couldn’t get a good handle on the ball or were stuffed themselves by Foxcroft goalie Brianna Skolfield.
“The first half, I think we were all nervous,” said Foxcroft senior center midfielder Mackenzie Coiley. “We were excited and we didn’t come out and play how we know we can. At halftime, we were like, â€˜Guys, this is Eastern Maines.’ Then the second half, we went out and we just played our game.”
So even though Winslow entered halftime with an 8-0 edge in shots and an 8-2 edge in corners, the score was still 0-0.
“We never gave up, even though they had like 50 shots on goal,” Coiley said.
Foxcroft scored on a well-designed corner play midway through the second half. The Ponies drew Winslow goalie Delaney Wood to the left side, then quickly pushed the ball back toward the middle, and Fadley scored after a brief scrum.
The Ponies also controlled the second half much the way Winslow controlled the first 30 minutes. Winslow’s last good chance came on a corner with about 14 minutes left. Jess Greeley’s shot was stopped by Skolfield and Coiley carried the ball out of the circle.
“Second half, they came out and took control,” Bourgoin said. “That’s what they did.”
Wood made a brilliant save to stop Fern Morrison on a breakaway with three minutes to play. That will be the lasting memory of Winslow’s season: A defense led by Wood, Bethany Winkin, Ciera Poulin, Alyssa Wood and Katie Smith that was the backbone of a sublime team.
“I am really proud of them,” Bourgoin said, breaking into tears. “It was a rough start, but I am so proud of them, because they really were a team. They were a team and I’m just really proud of them.”