November 2, 2013

HIGH SCHOOL FIELD HOCKEY: Nokomis wins Class B title

Warriors knock off York

By Matt DiFilippo mdifilippo@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

YARMOUTH — York probably had the two best players on the field: Taylor Simpson, a Miss Maine Field Hockey finalist. Lily Posternak, a magical player who is the best freshman in the state.

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WINNERS: Nokomis celebrates its victory over York in the Class B field hockey championship game Saturday at Yarmouth High School.

Maine Sunday Telegram photo by Gabe Souza

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TAKE THE SHOT: York’s Kathleen Cronin gets a shot back upfield during first half action vs. Nokomis in the Class B field hockey state championship game Saturday at Yarmouth High School.

Maine Sunday Telegram photo by Gabe Souza

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Nokomis countered with no stars, but a team in the Warriors tradition — a group of kids from small towns who bonded together, played together, and created something special.

The matchup was so even it looked like it was headed to overtime. But Olivia Brown — a Nokomis freshman who doesn’t even start but happens to have an unteachable knack for scoring goals — knocked one in with 5 minutes, 4 seconds to play, and the Warriors defeated York, 1-0, in the Class B state championship game Saturday afternoon at Yarmouth High School.

It was the first field hockey state title for the Warriors since Nokomis shut out York in the 2010 Class B final. For Brown, who has been attending Nokomis for only a couple months, the experience was a little overwhelming.

“I know,” Brown said with a big grin. “It’s really cool, though.”

York was coming off a 6-0 victory over Spruce Mountain in the Western B final, and Simpson and Posternak were as good as advertised. Simpson had the ability to shift directions quickly and unleash a sizzling reverse-stick sweep shot, while Posternak was able to weave her way through the defense.

Posternak, especially, was dazzling, but Nokomis held her in check enough to keep the game even. Lindsay Whitney — a fine two-way player herself — drew the assignment of shadowing Posternak.

“They had such great power offensively, we really had to work hard the whole game to make sure they weren’t getting those opportunities,” Nokomis coach Katie Thompson said. “Our defense did an outstanding job all over the field.

“Part of our strategy was to keep Lindsay Whitney on (Posternak) most of the time when we didn’t have the ball. We figured if they were getting the ball to her a lot, then Lindsay could intercept and do something with it, because she’s our best ball-handler. Lindsay just did a phenomenal job today.”

Nokomis started strong, getting the ball in the circle three times in the first two minutes. The Warriors couldn’t get a shot or a penalty corner on any of those chances, and that would be the theme of the game. With both teams playing superb defense in the circle — most notably Kelsey Kerstetter and Taylor Shaw for Nokomis — both defenses looked impenetrable.

In the second half, both Simpson and Posternak had good chances on corner plays, but Nokomis goalie Kendra Underhill made the save both times. Underhill, as much as anyone, was a key factor in the Warrior’s undefeated season. An unsure goalie as recently as the beginning of the fall, Underhill played calmly and confidently in the cage.

“I didn’t do that much,” Underhill said. “I think it’s just, we really blend as a team. I know their strengths. I basically know where they’re going to go, what they’re going to do. We bond well. I think that’s a big key to why we play so well together.”

With about 11 minutes remaining in the game, Nokomis nearly scored on a penalty corner. Mikayla Charters received the insertion pass from Drew Graves and let loose with a blast from the top of the circle. The blast got through everyone, but zoomed just wide left of the cage.

Less than six minutes later, the Warriors forced another corner. Thompson called for a play in which Charters had the choice of shooting if she was open, or passing if the flier got out quickly. Charters assessed the situation and sent a pass to Shaw on the right side. Shaw maneuvered and got free for a shot, and aimed at the left corner. As York goalie Livy Golini desperately dove at the ball, Brown was there to send it home with 5:04 left. Just to be sure, Graves fired the ball back into the cage, but Brown’s goal had already counted.

(Continued on page 2)

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Additional Photos

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BATTLE FOR THE BALL: York’s Kayle Kelly, left, competes for the ball with Mikayla Charters of Nokomis, right, uring the Class B field hockey championship game Saturday at Yarmouth High School.

Maine Sunday Telegram photo by Gabe Souza

click image to enlarge

TAKE IT AWAY: Mikayla Charters of Nokomis uses her stick to try to steal the ball away from Alexandra Jones of York during the Class B field hockey state championship at Yarmouth High School.

Maine Sunday Telegram photo by Gabe Souza

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ON THE MOVE: Taylor Shaw of Nokomis moves with the ball in front of York’s Madeline Leroux during first half action in the Class B field hockey championship game Saturday at Yarmouth High School.

Maine Sunday Telegram photo by Gabe Souza

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WE WON: Nokomis celebrates its 1-0 victory over York in the Class B field hockey state championship Saturday at Yarmouth High School.

Maine Sunday Telegram photo by Gabe Souza

  


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