Field Hockey: Phoenix hold off Raiders

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Spruce Mountain’s Auri Armandi (2) breaks away and heads toward the net as Oak Hill’s Angela Strout (12) intervenes in a field hockey game in Jay on Monday. Armandi did not score on the play.

Spruce Mountain Emily Castonguay (30) winds up to take a shot on Oak Hill goalie Mackenzie Thibeault as her teammate Desirae Dumais (17) intervenes in a field hockey game in Jay on Monday.

JAY — Spruce Mountain junior Emily Castonguay seemed more concerned about what’s for dinner than expounding on her scoring feats in front of the Oak Hill net.

The always calm, cool and collected Castonguay reeled off three goals, and Spruce Mountain (7-3) needed every one of them, as the Phoenix held on to a 4-3 victory over the stubborn Raiders in a field hockey game Monday afternoon.

Castonguay was proud of her team’s response to Oak Hill’s tenacity and even managed to say a few words about her hat trick.

“Feels good,” Castonguay said of her three goals. “It’s exciting.”

But the junior perked up when asked about Oak Hill’s comeback.

“It was nerve- wracking at the end,” she said. “But I knew it was going to be a close game. We did good. We stepped up when it was needed.”

It appeared the Phoenix had the game in the bag with a 4-1 lead in the second half, but the Raiders bounced back on offense and moved to within one goal with about 10 minutes left in the game.

“We had a couple of times when we kind of let down a little bit,” Spruce Mountain field hockey coach Jane DiPompo said. “We allowed them back into the game.”

“We came out ready. Sometimes, we haven’t been coming out ready. Today, we came out ready.

Midway through the second half, Castonguay slipped in her third goal, unassisted, at the 18:02 mark. It would eventually become the game-winner.

But the Raiders continued to dominate and punched in two goals within a minute of each other.

Desirae Dumais scored on an Alex Faucher assist at the 11:17 mark. Just a little over a minute later, Breanna St. Hilaire slipped in Oak Hill’s third with 10:08 remaining in the game. Adelle Surette got the assist on St. Hilaire’s goal.

All of a sudden, the Phoenix were in a squeeze, but their defense staved off the relentless Raiders.

“Don’t ever count us out,” Oak Hill coach Betsy Gilbert said. “The girls are relentless. They came to life. We started out slow and we knew we were going to have our hands full today.

“So we were kind of playing back. That wasn’t our game plan. We wanted to attack first and keep the momentum and our girls were kind of standing back a little bit,” she added. “I had to call a timeout to kind of rally them back together. They scored, we scored. The second half, the girls were relentless. They weren’t giving up.”

The first half was all Spruce Mountain and by halftime the Phoenix led 3-1.

Castonguay used an Avery Williams assist and put the Phoenix on the scoreboard at the 23:11 mark. Six minutes later, Castonguay scored again without assistance when Oak Hill goalie Mackenzie Thibeault kicked the ball out on Castonguay’s first shot. She sent it back and past Thibeault for a goal.

Spruce Mountain’s 2-0 lead didn’t sit well with Oak Hill. The Raiders’ Dumais scored her first of two goals on a Surette assist.

With 1.3 seconds left in the first half, Auri Armandi scored on a Brooke Buote feed to give the Phoenix some breathing room with a 3-1 lead.

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