LITCHFIELD — Armed with a two-goal lead at halftime, the Oak Hill field hockey team had all the offense it needed.

The top-seeded Raiders didn’t allow a shot on goal and blanked No. 4 Lisbon for a third time this season, posting a 3-0 victory Monday in a Class C South semifinal at Carrie Ricker School. With the win, Oak Hill (15-1-0) advanced to the regional finals Wednesday against No. 2 St. Dom’s. The game will be played at Massabesic High School at a time to be determined.

“It feels good,” senior defender Lindsey Wright said of the win. “We definitely want to go further (in the playoffs), but it’s a really good feeling right now.”

“Our defense is always rock solid,” Oak Hill coach Betsy Gilbert added. “They are one of the reasons we’re so successful. As a coach, to be able to sit back and see the ball go down there, I’m not worried. I’m just worried about getting everyone else in good positioning so we can feed the ball up to them. It’s a good problem to have.”

While Hayden Spencer, Abby Asselin and Desiree Dumais all scored for Oak Hill, it was the Raiders’ defense — led by seniors Wright and Lexi Fuller — that provided the largest impact on a windy afternoon.

The Raiders repeatedly stymied the Greyhounds (10-6-0), who were out-scored 11-0 in the three meetings this season.

“They have a very strong defense. I think they’re the best defense in the conference,” Lisbon coach Julie Petrie said of Oak Hill. “They did a great job of stopping balls and clearing them quickly… Very good sticks defensively for them.”

The first half provided insight into the differences between the two teams. While Lisbon was able to sustain attacking pressure in spurts on Monday, it wasn’t able to generate scoring opportunities. In addition to being held without a shot, the Greyhounds only enjoyed three penalty corners, and two of those were stopped almost immediately by Wright, who stormed to the ball on the insert passes to intercept a secondary pass or shot attempt.

“I expected a little bit more from them (offensively) for this game, to be honest,” Wright said. “I try to ‘banana peel’ and get around to get stick on stick instead of body on body.”

“I think what makes us special is we can all communicate and read each other,” added Fuller, who is also a key cog in the Raider attack on offensive corners. “We’ve been playing together for so long. It’s definitely important for me to stop that ball, and our midfield and our forward line do a really good job of coming back down so we have that pass out there.”

On the flip side of the same coin, Oak Hill used its time on the ball to put shots on the cage and produce penalty corners.

Spencer scored just past the midway point of the opening half, banging home a Maegan Sheehy cross from the left side for a 1-0 lead. Less than six minutes later, the advantage doubled when Mercedes Pease’s long, high shot from the top of the circle was blocked down by Lisbon goalie Mikaylia Harnden (four saves). It fell right to Asselin for the rebound score.

“We had to battle to try and get the girls to get the ball more to the outside,” Gilbert said. “Once we could beat that first line of attack there, we were smooth sailing in.”

Late in the second half, Dumais finished off the Greyhounds. Like the two previous Oak Hill goals, Zoe Buteau worked the ball deep down the right side for a cross, which again was deflected straight to a perfectly positioned Raider forward.

“At times, I thought we played a little too defensive,” Petrie said. “We didn’t spread the ball around as much as we had planned in preparation for this. I think it’s different saying it and then getting on the field and they’re everywhere. That kind of took us out of it a little bit. We wanted to do a lot more passing than hitting.”

With the win, Oak Hill will see St. Dom’s for the first time this season — an oddity for the two schools separated geographically by just over 10 miles.

“We’re just going to go out and play our game,” Gilbert said. “We go out, we play hard and we play as a team, and that’s all that matters.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC


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