AUGUSTA — After 14 years as Cony field hockey coach, Holly Daigle is finally going to a regional final.

Maci Freeman’s go-ahead fourth-period goal lifted the second-seeded Rams past No. 3 Nokomis 2-1 on Tuesday in a Class B North semifinal at Fuller Field.

Cony (14-1-1) will face top-seeded and undefeated Belfast, a 3-2 winner over Leavitt in Tuesday’s other semifinal, for the regional title Thursday at Messalonskee High School in Oakland.  The state final is Saturday at Lewiston High School. Belfast handed Cony its only loss of the season, a 4-1 decision on Oct. 3.

“I feel like I say the same thing every time, but every time we play Nokomis, it is always down to the wire, it is a hard-fought battle on both ends of the field,” Daigle said. “We knew what to expect. It’s nerve-wracking, but that’s what makes it so much fun to play this team, because they’re skilled, they work so hard, and it pushed us to work just a little bit harder.”

The game was the first for both teams since last Wednesday’s mass shooting in Lewiston, which put all high school competition on pause for the weekend. A moment of silence was held for the victims before the game, and players and coaches on both teams wore blue and white ribbons in their hair.

“It was really difficult, of course and I think everybody in Maine can agree that certainly had a massive effect on us, even though they’re an hour or 45 minutes away,” Nokomis coach Shaunessy Saucier said.


Cony had a 14-4 advantage in penalty corners, but the last one, as dusk descended on Fuller Field, counted most. Elise Cunningham passed the ball out to Abby Morrill, who found Freeman in front of the goal. Freeman lofted a shot that evaded Nokomis goalie Eliya Drummond with 6:30 left in the game.

“Maci’s a competitor,” Daigle said. “Everybody worked so incredibly hard and really, really well as a team today, but Maci did not want this to be her last game. It was beautiful shot. Her teammates were in great position.”

Nokomis coach Shaunessy Saucier, back, outlines a play for the team during halftime of Tuesday’s Class B North field hockey semifinal at Fuller Field in Augusta. Kennebec Journal/Dave Bailey

Nokomis had only one corner in the first half, but the Warriors (12-3-1) made the most of it after Morrill’s goal 1:08 into the second period gave the Rams a 1-0 lead. Nokomis’ Myia SeeHusen passed the ball out to Addison Hawthorne, who blistered a rocket past Cony goalie Avery Maxim with 5:19 left in the half.

“She’s really good at hitting the near post or the far post,” Saucier said. “She made a quick decision that the near side was open and executed that corner really well.”

Tuesday’s game was a rematch of a double-overtime scoreless tie Oct. 10 in which Nokomis’ Drummond made 20 saves. But shots were fewer and far between in this one, as Drummond had only two stops while her teammates kept the ball from danger for most of the afternoon.

“I’m really proud of how our defense handled their attack, because they (Cony) are very strong and quick and athletic, so I’m proud of how we tackled and how we played defense,” Saucier said.

As for Daigle, a long wait finally ends.

“It feels really, really good,” she said.

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