Field Hockey Playoffs: Switcheroo sparks Allison, Falcons past Warriors

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RUMFORD — Scoring the game-winning goal in a field hockey playoff game has plenty to do with skill, of course.

There’s also an enhanced value at this time of year to being in the right place at the right time, however. Or in Chelsea Allison’s case, the left.

Being relocated from one wing to the other prior to Saturday’s Class C West preliminary game paid huge dividends for Mountain Valley sophomore Allison, who scored both goals in the Falcons’ 2-0 ouster of Wells at Hosmer Field.

“Middle school I played left all three years, and I like that side better,” Allison explained.

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Mountain Valley coach Melissa Forbes flip-flopped Allison and Marissa Crosby in an effort to take better advantage of Allison’s tendencies.

It proved the correct choice when she scored with 13:11 remaining in the first half, and again courtesy of Lexi Edwards with 15 minutes to go in the game.

“She’s just so much more comfortable on this side,” Forbes said of Allison. “She has the eye-hand coordination. She’s a basketball player.”

No. 8 Mountain Valley (5-8-2) advanced to a quarterfinal at No. 1 Oak Hill (13-0-1), a team that beat the Falcons 8-1 in their mutual MVC season-opener. No. 9 Wells of the Western Maine Conference finished at 6-7.

With no seniors and only three juniors on the roster, the Falcons were happy to be home — where they are now 4-2-2 on the season — and pleased to see an unfamiliar foe.

“Sometimes I think it’s better for the young kids to play somebody they don’t know,” Forbes said. “They don’t tend to have any preconceived notions about whether they should win or lose.”

The Falcons played with confidence and authority throughout, allowing one shot on goal by Wells in the first half and only two shots until the final two minutes of the game.

Mountain Valley’s midfield, led by junior co-captain Maddie Kaubrys, Makayla Burgess and Danielle Thibodeau, rarely allowed the Warriors to connect passes beyond the midfield stripe.

“I’m better at controlling,” Kaubrys said. “I’ve gotten more of an idea of switching fields when needed, dribbling east and west to create space. It really worked today.”

“Freshman year, we had her in the front line,” Forbes said of Kaubrys. “She can dribble. We had to remind her, you can do that. You can carry the ball to another part of the field.”

Edwards and Lexy Duguay each nearly put in a second goal just before intermission.

After Kaubrys and Thibodeau made takeaways to stave off Wells’ early second-half pressure, the Falcons continued their territorial domination.

Allison’s second goal was the result of continuing action off a penalty corner.

“It was nerve-wracking, but I got my stick on it and pushed it in,” Allison said.

Mountain Valley goalie Kassie Thibodeau made two big saves in the closing seconds to keep Wells off the board.

Having given up only one goal in its past 190 minutes of play, Mountain Valley believes it has made a quantum leap from its debut on Sept. 3.

“We’ve had our ups and downs, our on and off games. I think today we really showed how much we’ve pulled together,” Kaubrys said. “From our first game at Oak Hill up to now, it’s such a huge difference.”

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