HAMPDEN — Nokomis had chance after chance after chance. Belfast had very few, but made the most of its last one.

Despite dominating the play for regulation and two overtimes, Nokomis could not score thanks to the brilliant defense of Belfast goalie Julia Ward and back Katrina Lapham.

Finally, Madison Cummings scored on a rebound on a penalty corner after time expired in the second overtime, and Belfast came away with a 1-0 victory over the top-ranked Warriors in the Eastern B field hockey final Tuesday night at the Weatherbee Complex.

Under field hockey rules, a corner is played out after time expires if the team executing the corner has a chance for the winning or tying goal. Cummings’ first shot was stopped, but she knocked the rebound inside the right post to give third-ranked Belfast (13-1-3) the win. Nokomis, the No. 1 seed, finishes at 15-0-1.

Nokomis was on offense for about a 20-minute stretch in the first half, but had little to show for it. After Belfast came out on fire and dominated the first five minutes, the Warriors responded with five penalty corners in less than four minutes. But Nokomis got only one shot in that stretch, and that hit the side of the cage,

The Warriors appeared to have a goal with 16:54 left in the half when Leah Edmondson drilled one into the right corner of the cage.

But as the Nokomis players celebrated, few realized that time had been called just before the play. Belfast senior Kristi Osgood took an inadvertent stick to the face in the left corner of the field and had to be helped to the bench. Osgood scored the winning goal when the Lions defeated John Bapst, 2-1, in the Eastern B semifinals.

“I think it was not just one thing,” Nokomis coach Katie Thompson said. “It was kind of a compilation of things. It’s just hard to lose that way.

“We’re going to leave the game with our heads held high, knowing that we did all we could. It was not any of the things that we did that lost this game.”

With about 13 minutes to play in the second half, Edmondson was denied again. This time her blast from the left side went past Ward, but Lapham was guarding the cage and deflected the ball away.

Lapham saved the gaem again with about 40 seconds left. On a Nokomis corner, the Warriors worked the ball to Marissa Shaw, who had a wide-open shot near the top of the circle. Shaw hit the ball full force and nailed it into the center of the cage, but once again, Lapham got her stick in the right place and deflected the ball away.

Ward was the star in the first overtime. She came out to stop Edmondson on a breakaway, and shut the door on the left post when Taylor Lovley tried a tip-in on a shot by Edmondson. Nokomis back Taylor Shaw also made a big play, stealing the ball from Belfast’s Lexi Nelligan to stop a breakaway.

Nokomis had another chance for a goal in the second overtime. With 5:39 left, Edmondson had a penalty stroke, but it went wide left.

“The stroke, the penalty corners at the end — boy, we did a nice job,” Belfast coach Allen Holmes said.

The Nokomis players were sobbing after the game, in shock over the sudden end to the season four days earlier than they wanted.

“The reason everybody’s crying so much is because they don’t want the season to be over,” Thompson said. “They love each other, they like playing together, they love practicing together, they love hanging out together.

“Yeah, they’re upset they lost. But really, they’re more upset that their season’s over. I think, especially for the uppperclassmen, it’s just emotional.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243
[email protected]


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