Lions cage late goal to best Windjammers in tight affairCoach Holmes-Jackson gets better of former team in first meeting
Belfast — To say the Wednesday, Sept. 25 high school field hockey game between Belfast and Camden Hills was important to Lion field hockey coach Jan Holmes-Jackson would be an understatement.
Not only was the first-year coach facing the Windjammers, whom she coached for 17 years, for the first time, but the Lions were trying to claw back into the Eastern Class B playoff chase.
With the game deadlocked at 1-1 through much of the second half, Kylie Nelson scored the game-winner with 3:07 left in regulation, on an assist from Kelci Faulkinghm, to give Belfast a much-needed 2-1 win in a makeup contest.
On the outside looking in for much of the regular season, the win propelled the Lions into the midst of the playoff picture.
Maddy Cummings also scored a first-half goal for Belfast, while Meg Dowd scored a first-half goal for Camden Hills.
Maddy Littlefield made two saves in goal for the Lions, while Desi Dodd made seven saves in the cage for the 'Jammers. Belfast outshot Camden Hills 8-3 and held a 7-5 edge in penalty corners.
“It was a big win for us,” said Holmes-Jackson, who took over coaching duties at Belfast from her father Allen Holmes this season after he guided the Lions for 40 years. “I knew that Camden [Hills] would play us very tough today.”
“I think the first half it was probably the best we've played together as a team so far [this season],” said first-year Camden Hills coach Lindsey Clement, who worked under Holmes-Jackson for several years as the Camden-Rockport Middle School field hockey coach before taking the varsity job this fall. “We knew today was going to be a close game, the girls know Jan and they had that fire in them to want to win to say they could do it, and I think that really helped us in the first half.”
Belfast jumped to a 1-0 lead with 25:31 remaining in the first half when Cummings moved the ball into the right of the scoring area, muscled her way through two Windjammer defenders and pushed it Dodd stick-side for the game's first tally.
The Windjammers battled back to tie the score later in the game when Dowd emerged with the ball in a scrum in front of the Lion cage off a penalty corner and flicked the ball past Littlefield with 16:18 left in the half.
“We have worked really hard on our corners,” said Clement. “That was a corner I was nervous about because it came a little far out of the circle, but when we brought it back in everyone was right where they needed to be and we took advantage.”
Holmes-Jackson contested the goal on the grounds that the ball hit a player's shin guard on the way into the cage, but the officials upheld the score.
The Lions held a significant advantage in possession for much of the second half but could not break the tie until 3:07 remained when Faulkingham, who pushed the ball down the right side of the field, crossed it into the Windjammer goalmouth.
The ball met the stick of Nelson, who popped it into the cage for the game-winner.
“Our defense likes to use its reverse stick and I think it hurt us in that one particular moment,” said Clement. “But our defense played strong that whole game. Molly [Davee], Ellie [Pendleton] and Caroline [Keefe] did a great job covering everyone in the circle. We knew exactly what girls needed to be marked and we marked them the whole game. That last goal just happened so quick.”
“Kylie's been good,” said Holmes-Jackson. “She's been getting her stick on a lot of balls in front of the cage. She had a nice breakaway goal yesterday [against Maine Central Institute] too. She's playing very well for a freshman.”
The win is the third straight for Belfast, which Holmes-Jackson said has been the team's goal after starting the season 1-4.
“We're young, but we want to make playoffs and Camden [Hills] was right behind us in the standings,” said the Lion coach. “I feel like we're improving with every game and I thought Camden [Hills] played exceptional today. I knew they would.”
In the Maine Principals' Association Heal Point Standings for Eastern Class B, Belfast (4-4, 12.0663 points) is sixth, while Camden Hills (2-5, 8.0357 points) is ninth. Gardiner (6-2, 41.3265 points) is first in the 11-team region. The top eight teams qualify for the playoffs.
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Mark has been covering local sports throughout Knox, Waldo and part of Lincoln county since 2007. He has a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication from the University of Maine and is also a 2000 graduate of Rockland District High School.
Mark is an avid fan of the Boston Red Sox, fantasy sports, the AMC drama "Breaking Bad" and iced coffee.
He resides in Thomaston with his wife Jenn and sons Beckett and Austin.
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