Field hockey: Oak Hill caps unbeaten regular season with win over Lisbon

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Sadie Goulet and Heather Hannigan scored goals — one in each half — and Abby Fuller and Megan Labbe locked down the cage as Oak Hill edged Lisbon 2-0 in the teams’ final regular-season MVC game.

“These girls just wanted it,” Oak Hill coach Betsy Gilbert said. “They have been working so hard, winning the ball, doubling the ball. For the last three days, they have been just so focused on this one game. They set goals at the beginning of the year; one of them was to go undefeated. There were times when we thought maybe that wasn’t realistic, but as the season went along, the more confidence they got in themselves, the more realistic that goal became.”

The Raiders (13-0-1) likely earned enough Heal Points with the win to lock down the No. 1 seed for the Western Class C playoffs. Lisbon (12-2-0), which lost two games to Oak Hill this season, is still in second place, though third-place Yarmouth, which plays in the Western Maine Conference, still has one game remaining against Freeport.

From the home sideline, the view wasn’t all bad after the game. In the team’s first meeting, the Raiders topped the Greyhounds 4-0. Friday, Lisbon cut the result in half.

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“I thought it was pretty evenly matched; we just didn’t score,” Lisbon coach Julie Petrie said. “They play well, they double well, and we kind of panicked when it came to that.”

Still, Petrie said, the Greyhounds need to find their finish for the playoffs.

“We could have done a little better crossing the ball, stopping the ball and taking advantage of our opportunities,” Petrie said. “But we didn’t. Hopefully when it matters, we can put the ball in the net.”

Oak Hill has had little trouble finding the net this season, though in the past three games the Raiders have slowed a bit, scoring four times.

The Raiders didn’t have that problem early Friday, thanks to an offense built on speed and one- and two-touch passing.

“They’re a fast, fast team, too,” Petrie said. “They’re the fastest team we see, and we haven’t seen them in nine games, so we have to readjust to that quickness.”

“It’s all about that quickness, getting the ball and keep it going, keep it going, keep it going,” Gilbert said. “One of the things we’ve really been working hard on this year is working smart, not hard. The quicker we can pass the ball, the smarter that we’re playing.”

Goulet did things herself on the first tally of the afternoon. Gathering the ball in the midfield, she bobbed and weaved her way through five defenders and into the circle. With space, she wound up and whacked the ball on a line, beating Lisbon keeper Stevie Charest to the lower left corner of the cage and a 1-0 lead in the game’s 10th minute.

“We had to come out hard and fast, and we really needed to set the pace of this game,” Gilbert said.

The Greyhounds stuck with the Raiders through the remainder of the opening half, but couldn’t finish on three penalty corner opportunities.

Oak Hill flexed its muscle in the second half, maintaining possession through the midfield a majority of the time.

“We knew if we allowed that ball to get into the passing lanes, we were done for,” Gilbert said. “We really had to step things up in the second half.”

“We just stayed pumped and everyone knew what they were doing and we stayed focused,” Hannigan said.

Hannigan made it 2-0 less than six minutes into the second half after the team’s first penalty corner of the frame.

“The ball came back to me and I just shot it in,” Hannigan said. “I thought someone else had tipped it in, but it was mine. It was definitely a team effort.

“That was so important,” Hannigan added, “because they could come back at any time.”

The teams will meet again Thursday in the MVC championship game before each begins a playoff run against the rest of Western Class C.

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