WATERVILLE — Sometimes the best strategy in field hockey is to hit the ball and hope.

With 11:35 left to play in the Class C North regional championship game at Thomas College, Maine Central Institute freshman Madisyn Hartley stepped just inside the penalty circle to the right of Dexter goalie Kaitlyn Paquin and launched a shot her way.

“Whoever was there I just wanted to hit it in or (see) if it could go in,” Hartley said.

Her shot did indeed go in, off the foot of a Dexter defender, and it stood up as the Huskies won the game 2-1. The title was the first ever for MCI (13-4), which will face another first-time contender in Class C South winner Oak Hill for the state championship Saturday at the University of Maine.

After a scoreless first half, the teams traded goals midway through the second. Sophomore Addie Williams picked a shot out of the air and knocked it in at 22:55 to give MCI a 1-0 lead.

“Victoria Friend tipped it up since the goalie was laying on the ground to get it over (her),” Williams said. “Victoria flipped it up and I like bumped it in. It was just instinct.”

The goal was the sixth of the playoffs for Williams,

“My team just worked really hard trying to get it to me or anyone and I’ve just been in the right place,” Williams said. “I’m really lucky to have the team I have.”

The Tigers (14-3) answered just over four minutes later when junior forward Morgan Wyman tipped in a shot by Abby Webber past MCI goalie Mikayla Carr.

The Huskies did a nice job controlling play at midfield with Emily and April McAlpine and Alison Hughes.

“I think our speed and our stick skills on the turf (made the difference),” MCI coach Nancy Hughes said. “We have a really strong defense. I didn’t feel our defense was tested a lot, but when they did get it down in that end, they held up. They just played very well together.”

The Huskies finished with 10 shots on goal, including six in the second half, to five for the Tigers.

“We played fine,” Dexter coach Margaret Veazie said. “I think we had a few kids who had the doe in the headlights look. They have to come to play in these situations and not all of them did. When we hit on all cylinders we’re tough to beat.”

The Huskies play nearly all their regular season games on grass but the turf at Thomas College suited them just fine.

“I think we played really well today,” Williams said. “I love turf. During the summer we have a summer camp here so we’re pretty used to it and we just gave our all today and never gave up.”

Both goalies survived tests in the first half. Carr (four saves) stopped a point blank shot by Webber at the 18-minute mark, then Paquin (eight saves) robbed Kali Doiron 10 minutes later.

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