WATERVILLE — The results show the field hockey teams from Thomas College and the University of Maine at Farmington as basically even. They played two games at Thomas, 10 days apart, and each team came away with a win.

Unfortunately for Thomas (and fortunately for UMF), the Beavers won the one that mattered more.

Tuesday afternoon’s North Atlantic Conference playoff game was at Thomas’ Bernatchez Field because the Terriers defeated UMF in the regular-season finale. But Meg Hughes and Emmah Spahr each scored a goal as UMF won the rematch 2-1 to advance to play Husson in Saturday’s NAC championship game.

“We played all together this time,” Hughes said. “I think last time, it was a lot of individual play and a lot of trying to do too much. I think we just figured out the small passing game worked a lot better for us than the big game.”

UMF had four penalty corners in the first 10 minutes, and Thomas coach Andrea Thebarge had see enough. Unlike Maine high school field hockey, the college rules give each team one timeout per game. Thebarge used hers with 19:24 to play in the first half.

“They were very flat,” Thebarge said. “Passing game wasn’t there. They looked like they were nervous. We just weren’t playing how we normally play.”

The Terriers responded as Brittany Premo converted a long rush down the left side. It was Premo’s ninth goal of the year that put the Terriers up 1-0 with 14:15 to play in the first half.

UMF got a penalty corner four minutes later and went to Hughes on the left point. Hughes, a Maine Central Institute graduate, had sliced the ball twice from the same place on previous UMF corners.

“I always psych myself out,” Hughes said. “I always want to kill it so hard that I whiff it, or it goes not where I want it to go. I just (have to) take deep breaths and let what happens, happen.”

This time, Hughes took a pass from Chelsea Morley and blasted one through the alley and into the cage to tie it at 1-1 with 10:01 left.

Thomas had another solid chance on a penalty corner, but UMF’s Lee-Anne Greenleaf, a Gardiner grad, intercepted a beautiful cross by Premo. About two minutes later, Spahr was unmarked behind the Thomas defense and got the ball in front of Thomas goalie Abbie Charrier. Considering the circumstances, Charrier made a brilliant play by diving forward to smother Spahr’s shot, but Spahr fished away the rebound and flipped it over Charrier for the goal with 3:10 to go in the half.

“I tried to hit it in the goal but it hit her pads,” said Spahr, a Winthrop grad. “Then she fell, and I tried to hit it pretty hard and it went over her.”

The second half didn’t feature quite as much end-to-end action as the first 35 minutes, but Thomas still made some noise. In a span of about a minute, the Terriers forced UMF goalie Patty Smith to make four saves. But the last of those shots came with 8:30 to go and was also the last shot for the Terriers on the day.

“I think we did start playing together,” Thebarge said. “We started having more of a passing game, which is what we do. We just couldn’t connect. We had some opportunities, getting some offensive corners, but we couldn’t get our shots off. We had some rebounds in there that we just couldn’t control. It just wasn’t in the cards, I guess.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

Twitter: @Matt_DiFilippo


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