Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Editor's note: This story has been edited to correct Sage Duguay's name in the photo caption.
FUN IN THE RAIN: Mt. View High School’s Braley Leadbetter (7) back, battles for the ball with Waterville Senior High School’s Sage Duguay (4) in the first half at Thomas College in Waterville Thursday. Mt. View defeated Waterville 2-1.
WATERVILLE -- On a miserable, rainy day, the field hockey game between Mt. View and Waterville was moved from Waterville Senior High School to Thomas College. Mt. View sophomore Kersey Boulay probably wouldn't have minded if the game had been postponed, or perhaps moved to a dome.
"I hate these conditions," Boulay said, laughing. "My stick's all wet. It's just wet and sticky and drippy. I just don't like it."
With the turf field at Thomas, no one was slipping and sliding around, but everyone was still getting soaked. Mt. View scored twice in the first four minutes of the second half and held on for a 2-1 victory.
The loss was a blow to Waterville's playoff chances. The Purple Panthers are 6-6-0 and about 15 points behind Old Town for the ninth and final playoff spot. Waterville has lost four one-goal games this season, and outshot Gardiner in a 3-1 loss.
"We've been in every single game we've lost," Waterville coach Ashley Pullen said. "It's a few minutes of a breakdown. It's not like we've been dominated by any other team. We played well, especially in the first half, but we didn't generate the opportunities we needed to."
It was senior day at Waterville, so the team's six seniors were honored with their parents. But because some parents weren't there for the start of the game, the team and school officials decided to hold the ceremony at halftime. After the ceremony, the Panthers had only a couple minutes to talk as a team before taking the field for the second half.
That may or may not have been a factor, but Mt. View (8-3-0) did score two quick goals at the start of the second half. Just 1:35 in, Andrea Smith sent home a rebound to make it 1-0. Less than two minutes later, Boulay gathered a loose ball on a penalty corner and fired in another shot for a 2-0 lead.
"I think we just picked up our intensity a lot," Boulay said. "We started passing more, I think."
Neither team had played on turf this season, and Mustangs coach Gloria Hewett thought it was a case of adjusting to the different style.
"In fact, I put in a sub and I took her back out, because she hadn't played on it the first half -- it was too fast," Hewett said. "I should have probably played her in the first half. Playing on turf, you have to play longer, deeper, and stronger diagonals. I thought they adjusted well to it."
After falling behind 2-0, the Panthers began to create more scoring opportunities. Many of those came by the skills and stickwork of center midfielder Jena Nawfel. Mt. View's defense, led by Boulay, repeatedly stopped those charges before they became shots on goal.
But with 7:06 left, Nawfel took an insertion pass from Brianna Bernier on a penalty corner and drilled a shot off the stick of Mt. View's Abby Stubbs and into the cage. That got the Panthers within 2-1, and Waterville had the momentum the rest of the way.
"That was pretty scary, the last few minutes," Hewett said.
While Mt. View is securely in the postseason and might even get a home playoff game with a season-ending win at Belfast, Waterville could miss the playoffs entirely. The Panthers play Maine Central Institute on Saturday and a 10-win Winslow team on Tuesday, and are looking at both as must-win games.
"That's exactly what I told the girls," Pullen said. "They know the position we're in. Our backs are up against the wall."
Matt DiFilippo -- 861-9243