High school field hockey

Lions overcome deficit with second-half burst, advance to 'B' North final

Belfast scores goals in six-minute span in second half against Gardiner
By Zack Miller | Oct 28, 2019
Photo by: Zack Miller Belfast's Emily Woods hits the ball against Gardiner on Oct. 26 in high school field hockey at Point Lookout in Northport. The host Lions beat the Tigers 2-1 in a Class B North semifinal playoff game.

Northport — The Belfast field hockey team had been down on the scoreboard in the regular season, but was never able to fight its way back for a victory.

That same mantra looked to hold true in the No. 2 Lions' Class B North semifinal playoff contest against No. 6 Gardiner on Saturday, Oct. 26, but this was not the same Belfast team, as the Lions banded to overcome a deficit for the first time this season en route to a 2-1 victory on the turf field at Point Lookout.

The win over Gardiner propelled Belfast into the Class B North final, where the Lions will play No. 1 Winslow (12-2) on Wednesday, Oct. 30 at 3 p.m. at Hampden Academy.

The Lions upended the Black Raiders 3-2 at home to end the season, a victory that propelled BAHS to second in the standings.

Winslow beat No. 8 John Bapst of Bangor 9-0 and No. 5 Lawrence of Fairfield 3-0 earlier in the playoffs.

Watch video below and see more photos below.

Gardiner, the defending state Class B champion, downed Belfast 2-1 on Sept. 5 at Point Lookout in both teams' first game of the campaign.

On Saturday,  Belfast and Gardiner were scoreless at halftime.

The Lions defeated No. 7 Nokomis of Newport 5-0 in the quarterfinals, while the Tigers upset No. 3 Old Town on the road 2-1 to reach their semifinal encounter.

Belfast was last in the regional final in 2016, when the Lions defeated Lawrence of Fairfield 2-0 to reach the Class B state championship, where Belfast lost to South champ York 2-1.

On Saturday, Belfast's Reagan Seekins scored the tying goal, while Kayci Faulkingham tallied the game-winner for the hosts. Hannah Banks assisted both goals.

Maggie Bell scored the Tigers' lone goal.

Belfast held advantages in shots (13-7) and penalty corners (9-3).

Brooke Richards stopped four shots in the cage for the hosts, while Kassidy Collins stopped 11 shots for the Tigers.

"They played so well," said Lions coach Jan Holmes-Jackson of her Lions. "We knew it was going to be a really hard-fought game. Gardiner is the defending state champs and we knew they were very physical. I felt like we really held our ground. This is the first time we've been down and come back and won, so that was awesome. The team never gave up like I asked them to.

"My team has really been coming on the last few games. I'm just so happy with their play, and how they play as a team."

"We did really well working as a team," said Faulkingham. "It was a lot of passing and in and outs, and that's how we did it. There wasn't one person that did one thing; we just played as a team."

Unlike the Lions' quarterfinal contest against Nokomis, Belfast could not find the back of the cage in the first half, as the Tigers and Lions played to a scoreless draw.

"[At halftime] I told them we need to put [the ball] into the [cage], because we are good at scoring goals," said Holmes-Jackson. "We've worked on it in practice here, and we knew their goalie was very good, and that's why we lost to them in the first game of the season.

"[Gardiner's] goalie is very good, so we needed to work on redirecting and rebounds, and just pressuring [Collins]. We blocked it up really nice today, like we didn't give them [many] shots at all. We knew we were the better team, but we just needed to prove it."

"It was really special [to come back from the deficit]," said Faulkingham. "We never argued, we never got down on each other, and we came out 10 times harder (in the second half) because we wanted to win."

Belfast put Faulkingham's words into action, but not before Gardiner broke the tie with 26:04 to play in regulation, when Bell scored, with an assist from Willow Lavoie.

Six minutes later, the Lions regained composure and momentum, as the hosts' offense turned up a couple notches, and did not allow the ball to escape the Tigers' side of the field.

Banks passed the ball into the circle, where multiple Lions sat in front of Collins. Seekins was able to punch the ball away from Collins and into the cage to tie the score 1-1 with 19:12 to play.

Almost six minutes later, off a penalty corner, Faulkingham took a Banks' pass, had an open look, and fired an airborne missile into the cage, which had no chance of being stopped because of its speed.

"Banks inserted the ball to me, and I'm not going to lie, I kind of missed [the ball], so I had to pull around the [defender], and I just drove [the ball] right in," said Faulkingham.

From there, the Lions were able to run out the clock and hold off a late Tigers' charge.

Gardiner at Belfast field hockey
Belfast hosts Gardiner on Oct. 26 in high school field hockey at Point Lookout in Northport. (Video by: Zack Miller)
Belfast's Emily Woods. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Belfast's Emily Woods. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Belfast's Kayci Faulkingham. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Belfast's Hannah Banks, left, and Gardiner's Haley Brann. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Belfast's Hannah Banks, left, and Gardiner's Haley Brann. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Belfast's Hannah Banks, left, and Gardiner's Haley Brann. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Belfast's Hannah Banks, left, and Gardiner's Haley Brann. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Belfast's Hannah Banks. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Belfast's Hannah Banks, left, and Gardiner's Madison Farnham. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Belfast's Regan Seekins. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Belfast's Regan Seekins.
Belfast's Chelsea Gaiero, left, Regan Seekins, middle, and Kayci Faulkingham.
Belfast's Grace Hall.
Belfast's Grace Hall, right, and Gardiner's Leah Pushard.
Belfast's Mallory Tibbetts, right, and Gardiner's Dewey Clarey.
Belfast's Grace Hall, left, and Gardiner's Margaret Bell, back, and Dewey Clarey.
Belfast's Grace Hall, left, and Gardiner's Margaret Bell, right, and Dewey Clarey.
Belfast's Kayci Faulkingham.
Belfast's Grace Hall, front, and Gardiner's Margaret Bell.
Belfast's Grace Hall, front, and Gardiner's Margaret Bell.
Belfast's Chelsea Gaiero.
Belfast's Chelsea Gaiero.
Belfast's Chelsea Gaiero.
Belfast's Hannah Banks.
Belfast's Hannah Banks.
Belfast's Mallory Tibbetts, left, and Hannah Banks.
Belfast's Mallory Tibbetts, middle, and Gardiner's Jazmin Clary, back, Leah Pushard, left, and Piper LaVoie.
Belfast's Mallory Tibbetts, front, and Gardiner's Jazmin Clary, back, Leah Pushard, left, and Piper LaVoie.
Belfast's Mallory Tibbetts, middle, and Gardiner's Jazmin Clary, back, and Leah Pushard.
Belfast's Mallory Tibbetts, middle, and Chelsea Gaiero, right, as well as Gardiner's Sada Chaisson, left.
Belfast's Chelsea Gaiero, right, and Gardiner's Sada Chaisson.
Belfast's Chelsea Gaiero, right, and Gardiner's Sada Chaisson.
Belfast's Kayci Faulkingham.
Belfast's Kayci Faulkingham.
Belfast's Chelsea Gaiero, right, and Gardiner's Dewey Clary.
Belfast's Chelsea Gaiero, right, and Gardiner's Dewey Clary.
Belfast's Chelsea Gaiero, front, and Gardiner's Margaret Bell, left, and Sada Chaisson.
Belfast's Chelsea Gaiero, front, and Gardiner's Margaret Bell.
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