WALES — If given the choice, Oak Hill field hockey coach Betsy Gilbert would have chosen to play Tuesday’s Western Class C semifinal game on turf instead of on its usual grass field.
That desire had nothing to do with the field conditions at Carrie Ricker Middle School, which were less than ideal at times with players losing their footing on the wet surface.
“Turf is not new to them,” Gilbert said. “They played all summer on turf. We’ve had numerous practices on turf. If I had to pick today’s game I really wanted it on turf. That’s how confident I am with my girls playing on turf.”
While she didn’t get her wish Tuesday, her Raiders will play on turf for the rest of the season as top-seeded Oak Hill posted a 4-0 victory over fourth-seeded North Yarmouth Academy to advance to the Western C final. The Raiders will play Lisbon, which defeated Yarmouth in its regional semifinal game, at Scarborough High School on Thursday.
“We were preparing for this for a very long time,” Oak Hill’s Sadie Goulet said. “It’s kind of like deja vu. In middle school, we were always at the end of the spectrum. We would always just win and win and win. Our freshman, sophomore, junior year it was lose, lose, lose and now we’re back on a winning streak and it feels really cool.”
The Raiders had to re-adjust to their home field after heavy rain forced their quarterfinal game against Mountain Valley to be moved to the turf at Bates College on Saturday. Oak Hill needed 12 minutes, 22 seconds before Goulet broke the scoreless tie by reverse chipping a shot past the pads of NYA goalkeeper Elizabeth Coughlin.
Goulet’s goal jump-started Oak Hill’s offense as it dominated time of possession the rest of the first half. Danielle Samson gave the Raiders a 2-0 lead with 6:53 left with a rocket shot from the right side of the circle.
“I was surprised,” Samson said. “My dad before the game just told me to rip it as soon as I got in the circle, and I did exactly what he told me to.”
Samson added her second goal with 18:22 left to put Oak Hill ahead 4-0. Samson’s second marker was set up by Hayley Marshall, who found Samson in front of the net with a beautiful ball from the goal line to the right of the cage. Marshall’s pass found Samson, who tapped it by Coughlin for the goal.
“Danielle plays with her heart and soul all the time,” Gilbert said. “She is the playmaker out there on that field. She takes her role as a captain very seriously. She just is aggressive and hustles after the ball all the time.”
Prior to Samson’s second goal, the Raider went up 3-0 with the help of sisters Kylee and Kayla Veilleux. After assisting on Goulet’s goal, Kylee Veilleux scored herself after taking a pass from Kayla Veilleux from the right side of the circle and shoveling a shot by Coughlin.
“I think we held with them in the middle of the field very well,” NYA coach Tracy Quimby said. “It was just a matter of when they got down in the 25 where we had issues. We didn’t have our sticks on the ground. That will do it to you every time. That’s how they scored their goals. They do a great job crossing the ball and they have some really good shooters.”
The Raiders outshot the Panthers 24-10, but NYA surrendered just one penalty corner. The Panthers had four penalty corners, but couldn’t find an angle by goalkeepers Abby Fuller and Megan Labee, who combined for six saves.
Coughlin made 11 saves for the Panthers.