AUGUSTA — Holly Daigle’s call rang out, sounding less like an order than a plea.

“Shoo-o-o-t!” the Cony field hockey coach yelled.

Sophie Whitney did, and this time, the shot went in. Whitney, a junior forward, scored with 2:49 left in overtime, leading No. 3 Cony to a 1-0 win over No. 6 Oxford Hills in the Class A North field hockey quarterfinals.

“It was a pretty good feeling,” said Whitney, whose team needed double overtime to beat the Vikings in September, “especially how hard we worked … and knowing how hard we have to work to beat them.”

One overtime was enough this time, but it came after 60 minutes of regulation in which Cony fell short on chance after chance at the go-ahead score. The Rams had only three of their eight corners in the second half, but made up for it with one series after another that saw shots fired a half-second too late, others smack off the side of the cage or loose balls near the goal line kicked harmlessly away.

“We were so close,” Daigle said, emphasizing the last two words. “And that’s kind of been the thing all season. … We’re doing what we need to to get the ball in the circle, and we just need to finish.”

The Rams had to survive some close calls on the other end, too, and Daigle called the team together to stress the urgency of the moment in a speech before halftime began.

“She was like ‘If the other team gets the ball, that could be the end of the season,’ ” junior midfielder Faith Leathers-Pouliot said. ” ‘The day that we don’t have field hockey practice and we just see each other in the halls is kind of devastating.’ So everyone got it into their heads that the one person that puts it in the goal will carry us on for the rest of the postseason, so I think everyone stepped their game up.”

The message stuck, as senior midfielder Kami Lambert intercepted a ball to start a Cony possession in the Vikings end in the closing minutes of overtime. Leathers-Pouliot had a free hit, and made a move around an Oxford Hills defender before crossing the ball to the other side of the cage.

“I had pressure on, but I had one job, and it was to get it into the circle. I had a bunch of my teammates there,” Leathers-Pouliot said. “I said ‘There’s one thing I’ve got to do.’ So I went back to my basics, I did my pulls, I got around her, and I got the reverse in there.”

Whitney was waiting on the other side, and after the ball skidded through all the sticks and pads in front of the cage, she flicked a shot into the goal to start the celebration.

“It’s just the best feeling, knowing that now they don’t have a chance to score and knock us out,” Whitney said.

“It always seems to come down to the wire (against Oxford Hills), and they played a great game,” Daigle said. “But at the end of the day, my girls did what they needed to do and got the job done.”

The teams had to deal with a muddy field that forced the two faster-paced teams to play a more plodding game. “I would have expected a little more breakaways with a lot more speed,” Vikings coach Cynthia Goddard said. “It was really a short passing game, which is OK too. You just can’t really quickly change fields as much in the conditions, so we kind of had to adjust to that gameplan.”

Nevertheless, the teams had their chances, especially in a second half that was more wide-open than the first. Oxford Hills had all four of its corners after the break within a six-minute stretch midway through the second period, and Julia Colby even had a breakaway chance that Cony’s Emily Douglas was able to steer aside for one of her five saves. The Rams, meanwhile, were buzzing around Vikings goalie Madison Day (five saves), with Whitney and Julia Reny getting good looks on the doorstep.

None of those looks went in. Until the last one.

“It’s definitely frustrating, because one after one … it just keeps hitting people’s feet,” Whitney said. “But one after one makes you think you can get it in one of these times.”

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @dbonifantMTM

filed under:

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.