RUMFORD — It was certainly a battle between Mountain Valley and St. Dom’s, with two young MVC field hockey teams producing numerous scoring opportunities Wednesday afternoon.
In the end, however, neither team could break through, and the performance of the two goalies was a big reason.
Kassie Thibodeau of Mountain Valley and Taylor Bergeron of St. Dom’s combined for 28 saves in a 0-0, double-overtime tie at Hosmer Field.
The contest carried major weight in Class C West Heal Points, with Mountain Valley (4-7-2) and St. Doms (2-10-2) ranked seventh and 10th, respectively.
Tying their regular-season finale assured the Saints of a playoff berth. Mountain Valley, which also will be in the playoffs, has a game remaining against Winthrop on Friday.
“This was a great game. Both teams played hard,” said St. Dom’s coach Brian Kay, whose team beat Mountain Valley, 2-0, in the previous meeting. “We knew that it would be a tough game, because Mountain Valley has been playing well against some good teams. The tie will get us in the playoffs, and as you know anything can happen. We are peaking at the right time.”
The extra sessions were played 7-on-7, opening up the field to provide each team with plenty of options.
Lexi Kesaris broke free for St. Dom’s, but Thibodeau (12 stops) rushed out of the net and kicked the ball away.
”In the second half I made an adjustment,” Kay said. ‘We needed more offense, so I moved Kesaris up to forward. She is normally a fullback, but she has a lot of speed.”
Mountain Valley was forced to play down a person when midfielder Lexy Duguay was whistled for a mouth piece violation and sat out for two minutes.
Falcons sweeper Liza White was instrumental in clearing several loose balls out of the zone. Sarah Clark and Courtney Desmarais sparked the Saints defense.
”I thought Kassie and Liza really came up big on defense,” Mountain Valley coach Melissa Forbes said. ”I am also proud of the team, because they held it together and stepped up when Duguay was out. She’s the captain on the field.”
The game almost ended in the first OT, but Bergeron batted down Duguay’s penalty stroke with three seconds left.
Bergeron made 37 saves in the Saints’ 1-0 loss to Lisbon in overtime two days ago.
The play started when Duguay advanced the ball into the circle and Chelsea Allison backhanded a shot on goal. Bergeron smothered it for one of her 16 saves.
A similar sequence occurred in the second OT, with all Marissa Crosby, Alivia Lee and Duguay all near the crease, but Bergeron dove and denied the Falcons again.
”The girls rotated in and out,” Forbes said. ”They are getting used to playing beside each other on the field, and that comes with experience. But it is hard to score when the goalie is on top of the ball.”
In the opening half, Maddie Kaubrys dribbled around the circle and fed Duguay, who fired a shot on net. The Saints reversed the flow of play, and Emma Samson tried to set-up Kesaris, but White poked the ball away and Duguay’s shot sailed wide right.
Thibodeau also turned away a point-blank bid by Hannah Braun-Trottier in regulation.