Field hockey playoffs: No. 3 Lisbon fends off No. 6 Dirigo in Western Class C quarterfinal

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Dirigo’s freshman keeper was aggressive, meeting would-be attackers at the top of the circle and throwing off their rhythm.

“We talked about how far she was coming out, and we were coming out far, too,” Lisbon’s Kate Philbrick said. “We needed to stay back, cross it, and get it by her.”

In the second half, the Greyhounds made that adjustment. On their second trip into the circle, Molly Nicholson tipped a cross that came past Morrow into the goalmouth and Philbrick rammed it home for the game’s only goal, lifting Lisbon to a 1-0 victory over Dirigo in the teams’ Western Class C quarterfinal.

“We stayed back on post, and it just bounced off a deflection, and it crossed,” Philbrick said, “And then it went in.”

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“(Morrow) was much different than the last time we faced her, she was much more agile,” Lisbon coach Julie Petrie said. “She did an amazing job. We just needed to take a second to look up, see where she was and cross the ball. I told the girls, we do this drill in practice where you make the defense commit and then pass the ball off, and I told them to treat her as another defender, commit and cross.”

Lisbon finished with 23 shots on goal. Morrow turned back 20, with a pair going wide.

“She’ll meet you at the top of the circle, she is not afraid of anything,” Dirigo coach Gretchen Errington said. “She’s this little tiny peanut, she’s like, 70 pounds, and she puts all that gear on and she’s like a transformer, she transforms into this beast. She takes every goal as her fault. We’re so grateful that she’s only a freshman.”

The young Cougars fought through injuries this season to earn the No. 6 seed, and gave No. 3 Lisbon (13-2-0) all it could handle on Saturday.

“There’s really nothing more we could have asked from them,” Errington said, “except to put a stick on it to get it in the cage. But they stepped up to the plate. We’ve had some setbacks, and they played awesome.”

Both teams practiced most of the week indoors as steady rains made fields unplayable.

“We had a few nice practices inside, in the gym,” Philbrick said. “We came out here one day, it was a little rough, it was all wet and soggy. With one practice outside in a week, we knew it would be hard.”

In the opening half, Lisbon spent many minutes in the Dirigo end and generated 12 shots, but couldn’t solve Morrow.

“They have done better on hitting the ball and following it up,” Petrie said. “At the beginning of the year, I felt like we were hitting and then watching a bit. They’ve become more aggressive up front. We don’t really care who scores, as long as someone puts it in.”

Dirigo countered once. Ellen Wainwright found herself on a break at the top of the circle. She fired a laser that Lisbon keeper Victoria Swan kicked aside with her right pad.

After Philbrick’s strike in the second half, the Cougars had another chance in the closing minutes. Swan again flashed the pad and kicked it out of harm’s way.

“She had two very good saves,” Petrie said. “She’s nervous, because she really hasn’t played a lot of time in goal, but she’s quick and she’s smart. She played in the MVC game, as well.”

The Greyhounds advance to face No. 2 Yarmouth in the Western Class C semifinals, scheduled currently for Tuesday afternoon.

Dirigo’s season is over after a 6-7-2 campaign.

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