York’s Christina Dargie takes a swing at the ball in an attempt to blast it past St. Dominic’s Avery Greco during Saturday’s field hockey game in Auburn. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)
AUBURN — Every time St. Dom’s scored, York had an answer. The Saints, meanwhile, struggled to find an answer for the Wildcats’ Bailey Oliver.
The junior had two goals to lead York to a 3-2 victory over St. Dom’s in a WMC field hockey clash Saturday morning.
“We talked at halftime on things that we could work on, and we took that and put it to use,” Oliver said. “When they scored, we definitely got fired up in the inside and we wanted our own goal. We went for that and we kept the momentum going — they did, too, it was a good battle.”
For St. Dom’s coach Jen Brown, going up against a Class B school was a good test and she believes the game was played like a postseason contest.
“It’s tough because York has a really good defense, but that’s the (type of) opponents we are going to see in the playoffs.” Brown said. “It was a great game. I think it was very evenly matched and we are excited to play teams like that.”
St. Dom’s drops to 5-2 with season, with both losses coming to Class B opponents.
The teams played to a scoreless draw in the first half. The offenses started to shine after the break, with all five goals coming in the latter 30 minutes.
Despite the Wildcats (7-2) dominating the late stages of the first half, it was the Saints who got on the scoreboard first. Only 1:43 into the half, Paige Cote rifled a shot from about 10 yards away that went over the head of York goalie Julianna Kiklis.
“We need more direct shots from the top (of the circle) to hope to either get the touch on the rebound or a touch on that direct shot,” Brown said. “(We need) more of that, but you need to be inside your 25(-yard circle), right?
The Wildcats quickly regrouped, and 100 seconds later Sage Works was the beneficiary of Christina Dargie’s and Lexi Brent’s hard work to get the ball deep in the Saints crease, where Works got a stick on the ball.
“I am really happy. In the past we would have shut down a little bit, but today we just responded right away,” York coach Nora Happny said.
Seven minutes after Cote’s goal, Caroline Johnson put defending Class C state champion St. Dom’s back on top. Kiklis was able to make one save during a battle near the goal line, but Johnson put home the rebound to give the Saints a 2-1 lead.
Once again, the lead was short-lived for the Saints in their homecoming game, as Emlyn Patry set up Oliver’s first goal of the day 63 seconds after Johnson’s tally.
Happny was pleased with the composure her team showed throughout the second half.
“I told the girls in our (postgame) chat I was really happy with the way they stayed composed the whole game,” Happny said. “I think they were just playing their game and doing a little more passing, spreading out more and utilizing opportunities more in the second half.”
St. Dom’s struggled to build any momentum after that. The game became more defensive, like in the first half, and played between the 25-yard circles, and was mostly tilted in the Saints defensive zone. York contained the Saints offense by keeping the ball in front of the defense in the latter portion of the second half.
“We both wanted it, but York did a really good job picking up our balls — our big balls — we couldn’t get any of our big balls through and their big balls were getting through our press,” Brown said. “I think that was the difference right there.”
Oliver scored the game winner with 6:41 remaining in the game on an unassisted effort.
“I got it at the top of the circle, I remember thinking, ‘One more hit,’ and I just nailed it in like we practiced a million times,” Oliver said. “It luckily went in the corner and it worked. It was exciting.”
Kiklis made five saves in the victory, while Simone Long made four saves for the Saints.
York’s Lexi Brent lines up to take a shot at the goal as teammate Sage Works tries to keep St. Dominic’s Avery Greco from blocking the shot during Saturday’s field hockey game in Auburn. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)
St. Dominic’s Charlotte Gastonguay pushes the ball past York goalie Julianna Kiklis and Hannah Gennaro during Saturday’s field hockey game in Auburn. St. Dominic’s Kylie Leavitt comes into the play from the left. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)
St. Dominic’s Paige Cote and York’s Hannah Gennaro struggle for control of the ball during Saturday’s field hockey game in Auburn. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)
St. Dominic’s Caroline Johnson tries to keep the ball from going out of bounds as York’s Hannah Gennaro and Julianna Kiklis defend the goal behind her during Saturday’s field hockey game in Auburn. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)