Oak Hill High School’s Alexis Faucher, left, hits the ball into play past Hall-Dale High School’s Marcelle O’Connor during a field hockey game Wednesday in Litchfield. (Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal)
LITCHFIELD — Oak Hill senior Zoe Buteau remembers what it was like to play on a state championship team.
She started for the Raiders when they won it all in Class C just two years ago and she wouldn’t mind a return trip to the big game.
“Every girl on the team wants to go states, so I’d love it if we go to states again,” Buteau said.
There’s still a season ahead of the Raiders and some talented teams on their schedule, but they took a positive first step in their season opener Wednesday with a 7-0 win against a young Hall-Dale team.
Buteau, playing center mid, was the catalyst as well as the beneficiary of the team’s offense, scoring four goals, two in each half.
“I like just how we work together and we connect more than some other teams have,” Buteau said. “We just connect like sisters and it’s an amazing feeling for everyone else on the team, too.”
In addition to Buteau, Lexi Faucher and Desiree Dumais started on the state title team two years ago and both played key roles Wednesday. Faucher scored a goal and assisted on three others while Dumais added a goal and two assists. Sophomore Adella Surette added an unassisted goal in the second half, dribbling through defenders and finishing with a reverse stick shot.
“We set our goals to come out strong,” said Oak Hill coach Betsy Gilbert, whose team led 3-0 in the first half. “Basically, what we were looking for is to make a little more connection with our passing. We’ve got to grow and develop in that, but overall we saw our younger girls really stepping up. We have some open holes we need to have filled and they did a fabulous job today.”
The Raiders, who finished at .500 a year ago, owned the middle of the field and used their overall speed to their advantage. They out-shot the Bulldogs 13-2 in the first half and 20-4 for the game.
“They have a lot of strong seniors,” Hall-Dale coach Angela Corbin said. “I have one senior, eight freshmen, two of them who have never played before. They played half the game because I need them, we have a small team.”
The Bulldogs had a couple of scoring chance due to the five penalty corners they took, but couldn’t convert any of them into shots on goal.
“It’s hard to get mad at them because they’re such a young team,” Corbin said. “It’s still frustrating because they have athletic ability. They’re athletes so they’re gaining.”
Buteau’s first goal came off a shot from Dumais that went wide. She collected the ball to the left of Hall-Dale goalie Mia Rollins (13 saves) and rifled a shot into the back of the cage from 12 feet out.
“We work on getting our sticks down,” Buteau said.
Dumais scored on an assist from Faucher and Buteau knocked in a rebound to make it 3-0 at the half. The Raiders subbed freely in the second half while still maintaining pressure on the Bulldogs’ defense.
The Raiders expect a battle Friday when they face defending regional champion Winthrop on the turf at Kents Hill.
Oak Hill High School’s Desiree Dumais fires the ball through Hall-Dale High School’s Mia Rollins during a field hockey game Wednesday in Litchfield. (Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal)
Oak Hill High School’s Adelle Surette, left, chases Hall-Dale High School’s Jordan Gentz during a field hockey game Wednesday in Litchfield. (Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal)
Oak Hill High School’s Zoe Buteau, right, drives into Hall-Dale High School’s Patience Middleton during a field hockey game on Wednesday in Litchfield. (Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal)