Sports

Foxcroft edges rival Dexter to capture ‘C’ North field hockey title

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HAMPDEN — The top-seeded and undefeated Foxcroft Academy Ponies knew their neighbors, the Dexter High School Tigers, were going to be troublesome in their Class C North field hockey championship game at Hampden Academy on Wednesday night even though they had beaten the Tigers twice by a combined score of 7-1 during the regular season.

And that is how the game played out with the Ponies earning a hard-fought 2-1 victory thanks to senior forward Cassidy Marsh’s penalty stroke 1:59 into the second half.

Foxcroft Academy, now 17-0, will take on 16-1 Winthrop, the defending state champ, in Saturday’s state championship game at Messalonskee High School in Oakland.

Second seed Dexter finished at 13-4.

It was a defensive affair as one would have expected since Foxcroft entered the game having allowed just two goals this season while Dexter had surrendered only eight, seven against the Ponies.

Neither had given up a playoff goal.

There were few high-percentage scoring chances although Foxcroft Academy kept the Tigers pinned in their defensive third most of the second half after an evenly-played first half.

Sheryl Chase opened the scoring for the Ponies 6:12 into the game but Cheyenne Beem equalized just under five minutes later.

Foxcroft put constant pressure on the Tigers early in the second half and when a Pony shot hit the foot of a Dexter defender who was behind goalkeeper Shawnee McNally, a penalty stroke was awarded.

Marsh converted with a low shot past the right leg of McNally.

“I had taken two or three of them this season and finished on all of them,” said Marsh. “I knew where I was going to put it: to the goalie’s right. [The referee] blows the whistle, I hesitate for a minute and wait for it to be quiet and then I take my shot. The shot went exactly where I wanted it.”

“I was so close,” McNally said. “I was an inch away from it.”

“Once we we had our second goal, we really knew we needed to keep them out of our [half] so they wouldn’t have any chances to take shots,” Chase said.

Dexter rarely got the ball over midfield until the waning minutes when they threatened by penetrating the Foxcroft penalty circle. But they couldn’t generate any shots.

“We definitely brought in the second half,” Marsh said.

Despite their second-half dominance, the Tigers defended efficiently by getting numbers behind the ball and keeping Foxcroft on the outside.

Speedy junior left wing Ava Rayfield had numerous dashes down the flank and routinely maneuvered past Tigers but got numbers behind the ball and kept her from penetrating the circle for the most part.

“We played tough. We did what we had to do to contain them,” said Dexter coach Brittany McAllister. “Our defense stayed strong. The pantlyWe held theront t he m. Wthey did a got past a Tiger or two but Desuy tacawyDpee to t nestremcepmc
t half.pplauymmly.Sheryl Chase opened the scoring for the Ponies 6:12 into the game but Cheyenne Beem equalized just under five minutes later.

Both goals came off penalty corners with Aleshia Raymond assisting on Chase’s goal and Kiana Bennett setting up Beem’s tally.

Abbie Moore finished with three saves for Foxcroft Academy on five shot attempts while Dexter’s Shawnee McNally wound up with five saves on 16 shots.

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