October 8, 2013

HIGH SCHOOL FIELD HOCKEY: Nokomis tops Winslow in battle of unbeatens

By Matt DiFilippo mdifilippo@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

WINSLOW — Entering Tuesday afternoon, there were only five field hockey teams in the state with no losses and no ties. So when Nokomis and Winslow —  both 11-0-0 — met for the only time this season, it was bound to be memorable.

Memorable it was, as the game went back and forth and both teams denied the other’s scoring chances. Finally, with 57.3 seconds left in the first overtime, Kayla Braley scored off an insertion pass from Drew Graves on a penalty corner to give Nokomis a 1-0 victory.

“This had playoff intensity, and I think both teams felt that intensity,” Nokomis coach Katie Thompson said. “Both teams were definitely playing to win, going all out.”

“We were saying after this that it felt like we won the state game, because we were so excited,” Braley said. “We knew this was going to be our biggest game of the season.”

Winslow out-shot the Warriors 15-11, but until Braley’s goal, it looked like the star of the evenly-played game would be Winslow sophomore goalie Delaney Wood, who made 10 saves.

“Delaney got a lot of shots on her,” Winslow coach Mary Beth Bourgoin said. “She had a phenomenal game.”

Nokomis had 12 penalty corners in the game, including three in overtime. The winning goal came on a direct shot by Braley off the pass from Graves.

“Drew hit it out from the insert, and I got it and I had an open shot,” Braley said. “So I just took it. (Delaney) had made many saves, so I was kind of surprised when it went in, but I was really happy.”

Nokomis goalie Kendra Underhill also stood out, making eight saves. While both Nokomis and Winslow play in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference, they can’t meet in the playoffs. Nokomis competes in Eastern B, while the Black Raiders are in Eastern C.

“We knew that it was going to be a tough match,” Thompson said. “We knew that we were going to come here and play a really skilled team who’s been dominating a lot of their games. We have faced them every year. We play good defense against them, and they play great defense against us.”

Winslow has still outscored its opponents 46-4 this season. The Raiders will try to bounce back Saturday morning, when they have another game against Oceanside.

“Going into the playoffs, do we want to lose? No,” Bourgoin said. “My message to the girls after the game was, ‘It’s better to do it now than to pull a New England Patriots — go undefeated the whole season and then lose in the playoffs.’ They thought it was kind of funny that I said that, but it’s true. I said, ‘We’ll build from this. You’re a great team, and this doesn’t take away from what you’re able to do.’ ”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

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