Wednesday’s victory over Telstar put Oak Hill in third place in the Western C field hockey standings. The Raiders (7-4-1) start five juniors, four sophomores, and two freshmen. The first player off the bench is also a freshman. And though Oak Hill coach Betsy Gilbert coached the Raiders from 2005 to 2010, she is technically a first-year coach.

“I definitely thought it would take a little bit longer (to be successful),” Gilbert said. “But this team has been so coachable. They’ve really been able to transition to the style of play I want to play.”

The offense has several capable scorers, and the defense has come along, led by sophomores Brooke Surette at sweeper and Abby Fuller in goal. Surette has piled up defensive saves, although no one is sure how many she has.

“I wish that I would have kept count,” Gilbert said. “We are very blessed to have the skill back there from that young lady.”

The game that showed how far Oak Hill has come might have been Friday’s 2-1 loss to Spruce Mountain, which is 11-0-1 and atop the Western B Heal points. Oak Hill led 1-0 at halftime, and Gilbert said the Raiders said had a goal called off during the game because the ball was too high.

“The girls really wanted it,” Gilbert said. “They were very emotional (after the game). They knew that they could have beat them. That was everything as a coach that you work for, is to connect all of the aspects of the game together. And they did.”

 • • •

After winning one game and losing 13 last fall, Hall-Dale is now thinking about playoff positioning. The Bulldogs, who still have a fairly young team, are 5-6-1 after Wednesday’s 1-0 loss to Winthrop. It’s the second time Hall-Dale has lost to the Ramblers by a goal this season.

“I think there’s just a lot of communication,” Hall-Dale coach Christen Lachapelle said, “and really kind of understanding the game — spacing, movement, knowing our strengths against other team’s strengths, and playing off of that.”

One key performer is junior goalie Molly French, who made 21 saves Wednesday.

“She’s working well with the defense, and she’s doing a good job of keeping us in games,” Lachapelle said. “We’ve hung with some tough teams there.”

The top nine teams in Eastern C qualify for the playoffs, and Hall-Dale holds the No. 8 spot. The Bulldogs are at 20.9 points, putting them ahead of Maine Central Institute (14.7), PCHS (14.5), and Central (11.4).

Hall-Dale has games remaining against Mountain Valley (3-9-0) and Spruce Mountain (11-0-1). Lachapelle said she wants her team thinking winning in both games.
“We don’t want to be comfortable,” she said. “I think it’s going to be close. There’s definitely points on the table for teams behind us.”

• • •

The Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championship and runner-up games are scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 17 at Thomas College, with a rain date of Oct. 18. The champions and runners-up will be determined by final Heal points.

The games will follow the format introduced last year, in which the top teams in KVAC A and KVAC B will play each other at 6:30 p.m., and the second-place teams for KVAC A and B will face off at 5.

Although Winslow is in Eastern C for playoff purposes, the Black Raiders play a KVAC B schedule and are thus still eligible for next Thursday’s games. Winslow is currently second to Nokomis for Heal points among KVAC B teams, while Skowhegan and Messalonskee are 1-2 in KVAC A.

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243
[email protected]

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