High school field hockey

In battle of unbeatens, Black Raiders edge host Lions

Winslow hands Belfast first home loss in nearly two years
By Mark Haskell | Oct 01, 2017
Photo by: Mark Haskell Belfast's Kelsey Mehuren, middle, knocks the ball down the field as Winslow's Anna Petrovic, left, defends during a Sept. 30 high school field hockey game. The visiting Black Raiders beat the Lions 1-0. Winslow's Bodhi Littlefield is behind.

Belfast — The highly-anticipated high school field hockey showdown between Belfast and Winslow was more than just a battle of two talented, undefeated opponents. It also might have been a preview of an future playoff confrontation — ultimately, for the coveted Class B North championship.

And if Saturday’s game was any indication, fans could be in for quite a show in the coming weeks as the Lions and Black Raiders — both 9-0 heading into the Sept. 30 contest — battled like titans throughout the exciting 60-minute affair.

The Black Raiders gave the Lions their stiffest test of the season — and added a goal early in the second half for good measure — which proved enough for visiting Winslow to walk away with a hard-fought 1-0 victory.

Click for photos from this game.

Watch video below.

For the Lions — the defending Class B North regional champions — Saturday was their first regular season loss since Thursday, Oct. 6 of last season (a 1-0 defeat to Gardiner) and their first home loss since Oct. 8, 2015 (a 2-1 loss to Gardiner).

The lone score of the competitive affair came with 25:09 remaining in the contest by Winslow’s Silver Clukey.

“I thought it [the game] met everybody’s expectation for sure,” said Winslow coach Mary Beth Bourgon. “They are a very well-disciplined, well-coached team and we knew that it was going to be a battle. It was great to see great field hockey from both sides. It was a great match.”

The game also was likely a bit of payback for the Black Raiders. Last season, the then third-ranked Lions defeated No. 7 Winslow 8-1 in the regional semifinals.

“We knew that we needed to score and that they’ve been playing very tough defense and not giving up many goals,” said Lion coach Jan Holmes-Jackson. “I’m sure they were thinking about last year where we’d beaten them quite heavily in both matches, so we knew they would be out for it.”

The Lions boasted one of Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B’s most dynamic offenses, as they had outscored opponents 49-4 through nine games.

However, Winslow, which has outscored opponents 43-6 in 10 games, held Belfast without a shot in the first half and the Lions ended the game with only seven shots on the cage. Winslow also had seven shots on goal for the day.

The game became more physical in the second half, in particular as the defensive trio of Haley Ward, Natalie Greene and Madison Roy — which Bourgoin referred to as “a well-oiled machine” given they are all four-year starters — helped keep the Lions in check.

“We work a lot [defensively] on cutting to the ball and winning 50-50 balls,” Bourgoin said. “And through that the aggressiveness and body contact comes in. It’s not purposeful, but it does happen.”

The contest’s lone score game with 25:09 left when Bodhi Littlefield wove through a host of Belfast players and fired a shot on Lion goalie Brooke Richards. The Black Raider forwards were prepared to pounce on the rebound and it was Clukey who got her stick on the ball and popped in the game-winner.

Penalty corners typically are one of Belfast’s strengths and the hosts attempted six in the second half and eight total, but could not pump in the equalizer. Winslow attempted three corners on the day.

“I feel like we just didn’t quite execute like we should have,” said Belfast coach Jan Holmes-Jackson. “We didn’t quite play off our bumps. And our timing on our passing was a little off.”

Holmes-Jackson was not worried about her team — and this tough-to-swallow loss — and said the Lions would be ready for their final four games of the regular season — three of which are at home — and what they hope will be another deep playoff run.

“We have more games we have to work on to win and focus on getting ready for playoffs,” the coach said. “That’s what we’ve got to do.”

Richards made five saves int he cage for the Lions and Cassie Demers four saves for the Black Raiders.

In the Maine Principals’ Association Heal Point Standings for Class B North, Belfast (9-1, 74.5918 points) is second, while Winslow (10-0, 92.3469 points) is first in the 15-team region. The top 10 teams qualify for the playoffs.

Belfast 9, Morse 1

At Bath Sept. 28, the Lions roared past the Shipbuilders with ease en route to an eight-goal win. Belfast led 6-0 at halftime.

Leading the Belfast offense were Kayci Faulkingham (3 goals, assist), Lindsay Bruns (2 goals, 3 assists), Hannah Sanderson (3 goals), Mallory Tibbetts (goal), Kelsey Mehuren (assist), Hannah Banks (2 assists) and Mackenzie Banks (assist).

Vanessa St. Pierre scored the lone goal for Morse.

Brooke Richards made four saves in the cage for Belfast, while Sophie Wilson made 22 saves in goal for Morse. The Lions held a 42-6 edge in shots and 6-2 advantage in penalty corners.

Winslow at Belfast field hockey
Belfast hosts Winslow on Sept. 30 in high school field hockey. (Video by: Mark Haskell and Holly Vanorse Spicer)
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Mark Haskell
Associate Sports Director
594-4401, ext. 116
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Mark has been covering local sports throughout Knox, Waldo and part of Lincoln county since 2007. Haskell has a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication from the University of Maine and is also a 2000 graduate of Rockland District High School. He has won multiple Maine Press Association awards for writing and photography.

Mark loves iced coffee, cargo shorts, spending time with friends and family and suffers no longer after his beloved Philadelphia Eagles beat the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII.

He resides in Thomaston with his wife Jenn, his sons Beckett and Austin and daughter Lila.

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