High school field hockey

Lions knock off No. 1 Black Raiders, push to second

Belfast plays best in final regular-season encouner of fall campaign
By Mark Haskell | Oct 17, 2019

Northport — The Belfast field hockey team certainly hit its stride in the second half of the season, which drew to a close on Wednesday, Oct. 16 as the Lions welcomed top-ranked Winslow to the fast, artificial surface of Point Lookout.

And, the Lions picked a perfect time to play their best 60-minute stretch of the campaign.

The opponents were tied 2-2 as they headed into the second half when Lion senior captain Kayci Faulkingham cleaned up her own rebound and caged what proved the game-winner with 11:40 to go as the Lions clawed to a Heal Point-worthy, 3-2 victory over the Black Raiders.

Faulkingham factored in on all three goals for Belfast as she scored late in the first half, off an assist by Chelsea Gaiero — and assisted on Gaiero’s score early in the first half — to pace the hosts on offense.

Mariah Morrison and Silver Clukey caged goals for Winslow.

The win propelled Belfast up the Class B North standings, where it has, unofficially, clinched the second seed in the region.

“Going into the game we knew we were in fifth [place],” said Belfast coach Jan Holmes-Jackson. “And we didn’t like the idea that we’d have to be traveling and playing on a grass field. So they were very fired up.”

Belfast held a 21-14 edge in shots, while Winslow held an 8-7 advantage in penalty corners.

Brooke Richards made nine saves in the cage for the Lions, while Leah Pelotte made 17 saves for the Black Raiders.

The Lions got on the board quickly when Gaiero scored, off an assist from Faulkingham, with 26:11 remaining in the first half. That score held for a bulk of the first half before Morrison knotted the score for the Black Raiders with 9:42 to go.

Then, less than a minute later, Belfast responded with Faulkingham’s first goal to give the hosts a one-goal lead.

Holmes-Jackson talked with her team before Wednesday’s game about resolve. And, “that no matter what, no matter who scored first, that we were not going to give up.”

“Winslow did have that one loss against [Foxcroft Academy of Dover-Foxcroft],” the coach said. “So we knew they were beatable if we focused on playing Belfast field hockey and scoring on chances in front of the cage, playing tough defense and working together as a team.”

Clukey’s goal with 2:42 to go in the opening half knotted the score.

The game was back-and-forth in the second half before Faulkingham caged the game-winner with 11:40 to play.

The veteran coach said Faulkingham, one of the team’s four captains, played her best game of the year. As did the rest of the Lions.

“She played really aggressive and just kept shooting,” Holmes-Jackson said. “Trying to get rebounds, working [penalty] corners. She was a great leader on the field [today]. My whole team really gave a great performance.”

The Lions appear to be peaking at the right time, winning six of their final seven games. Belfast, the No. 2 seed, will host No. 7 Nokomis of Newport in the quarterfinals of the regional playoffs on Tuesday, Oct. 22 at 3 p.m. at Point Lookout.

The Warriors defeated the Lions in their lone meeting this season, a 2-1 win at Newport on Sept. 24.

In the Maine Principals’ Association Heal Point Standings for Class B North, Belfast (11-3, 125.8163 points) is second, while Winslow (12-2, 137.2449 points) is first in the 12-team region. The top eight teams qualify for the playoffs.

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