FARMINGTON — Brewer’s defense was a nuisance all afternoon, but it didn’t help that Mt. Blue’s offense was tentative and missing its trademark ferocity in a Class A North field hockey quarterfinal at Caldwell Field on Wednesday.
The No. 8 Witches defense packed it in around their net whenever the No. 1 Cougars threatened to score, which they did most of the afternoon.
No worries, though.
The Cougars still found a way to punch several holes in the Witches’ fortified defense and come away with a 3-0 victory. Mt. Blue (14-0-1) goes on to face No. 4 Skowhegan (11-3-1) — which beat Oxford Hills 4-0 — on Friday at Caldwell Field.
Mt. Blue coach Jody Harmon knew all along what was ailing the Cougars’ offense. After all, Mt. Blue spent most of the game in front of Brewer’s net, aggravating Witches goalie Michelle Maybury, who made 13 saves.
“We were definitely flat,” Harmon said. “The intensity was not where I wanted it to be. We were a little too watching, not attacking like we should.
“When we picked it up, there was a big difference. The game moves and you start passing and it all goes together. They weren’t attacking.”
There’s no question Brewer’s defense was frustrating, but it took a great deal of effort for the Cougars to slip the ball past Maybury.
In the first half, the Cougars breached Brewer’s defense and scored when sophomore Adelle Foss took a feed from Samantha Ellis and tucked the ball inside the net with 7:49 left in the first half.
The Cougars did not score for the next 23 minutes in the second half.
Sophomore forward Ellie Pelletier punched in Mt. Blue’s second goal, with Hannah Minns getting the assist.
And each time the Cougars scored, Brewer cracked down on defense.
“Yes they did,” Harmon said. “They just packed it right in. They just packed it in in the circle and that was hard.
“They played a great defensive game.Their game plan was to pack it in and they did and that goalie was incredible.”
But with 6:26 left in the game, Mt. Blue found a way to score its third goal. Foss scored her second goal on a Hannah LeClair assist.
“We have had a strong defense all season,” Brewer coach Sarah Estes said. “So I am really proud of them. We were really pumped.
“They (Cougars) are a really great team. Last year, when they came down here, they beat us by eight or more goals. We weren’t expecting that. This year, we were more ready for that. They are a very solid team, beautiful passing. They work well together.”