It took three tries for Lisbon High School to figure out Oak Hill on the field hockey pitch.
The Greyhounds are probably hoping for a fourth opportunity.
West B No. 3 seed Lisbon edged No. 1 seed oak Hill in the teams’ conference championship at a neutral site on Friday as the team prepare for the regional playoffs, the first time the Greyhounds have had success in three ties against the Raiders this season.
Oak Hill, which went unbeaten in the regular season, toppled Lisbon by a count of 4-0 in the teams’ first meeting, and 2-0 on the last day of the season.
Friday was Lisbon’s turn as it earned the Mountain Valley Conference crown, a good boost for the ‘Hounds as they head to the playoffs.
Western Class C has long been a tough conference from which to emerge, and becomes tougher for teams as they mix conferences. The talented top tier of the Western Maine Conference includes No. 2-seeded Yarmouth and No. 4 North Yarmouth Academy.
Sacopee Valley and Dirigo placed fifth and sixth, respectively, and avoided preliminary round games.
No. 7 Telstar hosts No. 10 Waynflete and No. 8 Mountain Valley hosts No. 9 Wells in preliminary-round games Saturday.
One of the bigger changes for some teams will be conforming to new playing surfaces. None of the MVC teams play regularly on artificial turf, the surface at both Yarmouth and NYA. Conversely, the Clippers and Panthers are partial to their home fields, making trips to MVC locales tougher to deal with. Yarmouth, which slots in at No. 2, would host its semifinal matchup with Lisbon or Dirigo, should the Clippers advance, but NYA, with a quarterfinal win, would possibly have to face No. 1 Oak Hill on natural grass.
In Eastern C, in one of the feel-good stories of the season, Winthrop returns to the playoffs with a winning record. The team endured the loss of a teammate late in the summer, a short bench and a core made up of varsity newcomers to post a 7-4-3 record in the MVC. The Ramblers handed Oak Hill its only blemish of the season via a scoreless tie, and played teams tough down the stretch.
Winthrop will slot into the Eastern C playoffs as the No. 6 seed, and will travel to No. 3 Foxcroft Academy (13-1-0) on Tuesday.
At 13-0-1, Winslow is back on top in Eastern C. Dexter (13-1-0) is No. 2. Boothbay, which went 6-6-2 in the MVC, is the eighth and final playoff team in Eastern C.
The 2-7 and 3-6 matchups are set for Tuesday, while the 1-8 and 4-5 matchups are slated for Wednesday.
The long-awaited rekindling of a Route 4 rivalry between Leavitt and Spruce Mountain lived up to its billing in the regular season. A Leavitt win also helped the Hornets secure the No. 2 seed in the Western B playoffs, while Spruce Mountain slotted in at No. 3. Both area KVAC schools will be chasing multi-time regional champion, unbeaten WMC powerhouse No. 1 York, which completed its season at 14-0.
At 9-5 in a tough-as-nails WMC, Kennebunk snagged the fourth seed and home field for a quarterfinal game against No. 5 Cape Elizabeth.
And what do Kennebunk and Cape Elizabeth have in common? Both schools’ teams lost to Poland, which slots in at No. 6, one place ahead of Freeport, which defeated the Knights twice.
So was the Leavitt coaching staff, which was having a hard time deciding Tuesday which WMC games to watch Wednesday for a potential opponent after securing the No. 2 seed. The Hornets will draw the No. 7 Freeport Falcons, while Spruce Mountain will host a much-improved Poland squad. Those games will take place Tuesday.
Top-seeded York draws the winner of a Greely-Fryeburg preliminary contest, while Kennebunk will host Cape Elizabeth. Both of those games will be on Wednesday.
The turmoil atop the standings this season could once be explained away with a simple answer: Messalonskee caught Skowhegan on an injury-riddled afternoon early in the season, sending the Indians to their first loss in nearly six season.
Until the Eagles did it again.
And yet, thanks to a late-season surprise from No. 5 Cony in a win over No. 2 Lawrence, those Indians, two losses and all, are still the top seed in Eastern Class A.
And that team that defeated Skowhegan twice? Those Eagles are still back in third position.It’s been that kind of year across the board in Eastern A, where the top teams were more susceptible than ever for a loss. No. 4 Mt. Blue lost games to Skowhegan and Messalonskee by one goal each, while topping No. 6 Oxford Hills in a pair of overtime contests that ultimately kept Cony out of the top four.
Cony then, with its upset of Lawrence, prevented an Oxford Hills-Mt. Blue rematch in the 4-5 spot.
Edward Little, meanwhile, slotted in at No. 7, while Bangor edged Hampden Academy for the final playoff position.
The Rams will travel to Skowhegan for a quarterfinal, while Cony will make its way to Mt. Blue, both on Wednesday. On Tuesday, Oxford Hills heads to Messalonskee in the 6-3 quarterfinal, while No. 7 Edward Little will battle No. 2 Lawrence.
In Western A, Scarborough completed yet another unbeaten season at 14-0, and will be favored to advance to the Class A state title game again. Gorham, Marshwood and Thornton Academy will also host home playoff quarterfinals.