Thursday, December 5, 2013
By Matt DiFilippo firstname.lastname@example.org
NEWPORT -- Given the chances they had, they could have scored a few more goals. But that's about the only quibble for the Nokomis field hockey team after Tuesday afternoon's game with Maine Central Institute.
Nokomis improved to 5-0-0 to remain the only unbeaten and untied team in Eastern B. Olivia Brown and Lindsay Whitney each scored a goal as the Warriors won 2-0.
"I think the girls are doing a really good job," Nokomis coach Katie Thompson said. "They're smart. We have a solid team in terms of skill, and they're getting along really well. They're all hard workers, and they're playing hard. At this point in the season, that's really all you can hope for, right?"
MCI (3-2-0) was coming off a 2-1 overtime loss to Mt. View on Saturday, a game in which the Mustangs scored the winning goal while MCI was short-handed because of a yellow card. Gardiner is the only other team to play Nokomis within two goals this season, so MCI coach Nancy Hughes saw that as a sign that the Huskies are more competitive than her players might believe.
"One thing I want the girls to realize is that they can play with these teams," Hughes said. "Yes, we're a Class C team. Yes, we play a really tough Class B schedule. But they've worked so hard the last few years, not just during the season, but in the offseason. Nokomis is a good team, but I didn't feel like we weren't a good team."
Brown, a standout freshman, scored midway through the first half, and Nokomis led 1-0 at the break. The Warriors had 13 shots and eight penalty corners in the first half, while MCI had none of each. Nokomis lost a goal when it was ruled the Warriors didn't send the ball out of the circle before scoring on a penalty corner, and was denied other chances by the play of MCI sophomore goalie Mikayla Carr.
"She played really well," Hughes said. "She and Courtney (Sprague) have been platooning all season, and I felt like Mikayla had the better warm-up today, so I went with her in the first half. Courtney said at halftime that Mikayla was playing really well. Mikayla seemed to have the momentum, so she wanted her to have the opportunity to finish it out."
Whitney got her goal less than five minutes into the second half when she converted a pass from Kirsten Costedio. Carr came up big to deprive Brown of her second goal in a 1-on-1 situation about two minutes later. With a little under 10 minutes to go, Nokomis senior Kelsey Kerstetter put a shot off Carr's pads that banged into the left post but refused to go in. It was about as close as you can come without actually scoring a goal.
"Oh, I know," Kerstetter said with a sigh. "It was close, but it's OK. I'll get, hopefully, other opportunities, but if not, it's all right. I'm more concerned about winning than scoring."
Nokomis ended up with a 17-1 edge in corners, but had to settle for a pair of goals. Thompson thought part of the solution was for the Warriors to be a team with seven scoring threats, instead of three or four.
"I think that, especially through the first half of the game, our midfielders were relying heavily on the forwards to try to put the ball in," Thompson said. "So that was kind of part of our talk at halftime, was 'Mids can score goals, too, so you're going to need to step up there.' In the second half, they started to step up and take advantage of the open space at the top of the circle. That was encouraging."
Matt DiFilippo -- 861-9243