For 60 minutes on a muddy, rain-soaked field, which made moving the ball more difficult, the two top Busline League field hockey teams during the regular season battled stick-to-stick, looking for the momentum and the one goal that might make them playoff champions for 2012.

No. 2 Troy Howard Middle School of Belfast found that elusive goal with 13:39 left in the second half to lift the Lions past No. 1 Oceanside, the regular-season champions, in the Thursday afternoon, Oct. 18 game on the field behind Oceanside East.

Jillian Young tallied the game-winning goal for the Lions. While the Mariners had a few shots on goal, the Lions had a bundle, but were stymied by the Mariner goalie, and Troy Howard earned double-digit penalty corners.

Oceanside and Troy Howard played two regular-season games, each ending in a tie.

Click for photos from the championship game.

Troy Howard is a perennial middle school champion and has ruled the top spot in the league for several decades, with Rockland District Middle School (now Oceanside, combined with Thomaston Grammar School) and Camden-Rockport Middle School also always in the title mix. In fact, the Schooners won the title last year.

Earlier in this year's playoffs, No. 2 Troy Howard beat No. 3 Boothbay 7-0, while No. 1 Oceanside outlasted No. 5 Camden-Rockport 1-0. CRMS also beat Great Salt Bay of Damariscotta in the postseason.

The 2012 Lions, co-coached by Beth Baker and Sara McIntyre, include Anna Baiungo, MacKenzie Barnhart, Jennifer Beal, Abigail Berry, Victoria Curtis, Morgan Fernald, Morgan Maker, Noelle Morris, Kylie Nelson, Kaylen Ottman, Meredith Short, Kendra Belden, Samantha Hills, Alyssa Limeburner, Kelsey Mehuren, Kimberly Newton, Brianna Rushlow, Kristina Walker, Alia Wallace, Sabrina Wood, Jillian Young, Mackenzie Banks, Lauren Blood, Lindsay Bruns, Cassidy Clark, Maya Cunningham, Gia Davila, Amy Caiero, Cassie Jackson, Talia Larue, Libby Maguire, Madison Martz, Hannah Sanderson, Julie Ann Smith, Kerrigan Stone, Brianna Armstrong and Elisabeth Taylor.

Coach Baker said Fernald played in goal and that the Lions had about 15 penalty corners and the Mariner goalie made at least 25 saves. "All of the girls on both teams played a fantastic game" given the tough, muddy playing conditions.

The 2012 Mariners, coached by Andrea Garver, include Leila Chammas, Alexis Mazurek, Madelyn Young, Lauren Hoppe, Jordan Mini, Haley Montgomery, Mariah Rackliff, Erin Dugan, Payten Simmons, Taylor Hamlin, Kimmy Roman, Amelia Campbell, Mattie Hooper, Hayley Nickerson, Morgan Lindsey, Drew Simmons, Gabrielle Straka, Kyla Frederick, Kaycee Foster and Brooke Post.

"Troy Howard is a well-coached team with great stick skills and we knew they would be a tough team to play." said coach Garver. "The beginning of the game felt very evenly matched and both teams played hard under difficult field conditions."

The coach said Mazurek "played a strong center mid, keeping the ball moving around the field offensively and defensively. After she was injured and taken off the field, Madelyn Young, who usually plays center forward, stepped in as the center mid, playing a strong defensive game."

Garver said, "Our team was slightly shaken after Alexis' injury, but no one gave up and everyone continued to play hard and to the best of their abilities. Haley Montgomery, Taylor Hamlin and Kaycee Foster played exceptional defense and Lauren Hoppe made several key saves in the goal, clearing the ball out of the defensive circle. Kimmy Roman and Jordan Mini played solidly helping to get the ball out to the sidelines in attempts to pass up and out to the wings on the forward line.

"Erin Dugan did a great job adjusting to the center forward position ,fighting hard to get the ball down the field and into the offensive circle. Erin was injured in the second half of the game and our team had to adjust again."

Chammas and Payten Simmons "worked hard to support the offense and the defense," said the coach, "while Amelia Campbell, Gabby Straka, Brooke Post and Drew Simmons subbed in and played exceptionally well to keep our team in the game right up until the end."

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