Edward Little’s Kiara Fournier runs past Brunswick’s Erin Coughlin in the first half Wednesday. (Eric Maxim/Brunswick Times Record)
BRUNSWICK — Edward Little received goals from five different scorers and relied on its midfielders to secure a 5-0 victory in a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference high school field hockey clash Wednesday.
In the season opener for both teams, the Red Eddies and the Dragons enjoyed a cool evening as the sun fell below the trees, providing shade for most of the field.
While the temperatures were beginning to cool, the Red Eddies offense became hot.
“It’s definitely a team effort, they work very well together,” first-year coach Kim Joler said after her team awarded her the game ball for her first varsity win as a coach.
Becca Raby tallied the first goal of the contest about 12 minutes into the game, taking a loose ball in front of the cage and knocking it past Brunswick keeper Ainsley Harrower for the score.
Trailing by a goal, Brunswick threatened at the 16:20 mark when Erin Coughlin shot on net, but it was turned away when EL goalie Elise Syphers cut down the angle for the save. Brunswick was unable to put together any more scoring opportunities, as the Red Eddies defense limited the Dragons’ shots on goal by keeping them out of the circle.
“We didn’t have as many shots on goal as we should have,” Brunswick coach Karen Paquin said. “We came out a little flat at the beginning.”
With 8:36 remaining in the half, EL scored again, an unassisted goal by Kiana Fournier, to take a two-goal lead.
EL possessed the ball for much of the first half, but the trio of Maggie Folsom, Kristen Hummer and Rosie White kept EL off the board for the remainder of the half.
“Those girls play hard back there,” Paquin said. “They are comfortable back there with each other and do a good job for us.”
“The three of us have been playing defense together for a few years,” White said. “We are constantly talking about defense and our position, even outside of practice.”
EL outshot Brunswick 5-1 in the opening 30 minutes.
The second half began promising for Brunswick, only to be stymied once again by the Red Eddies defense.
The rallying defense sparked EL’s offense, leading to a pair of goals by Courtney Larson and Olivia Roth in the first seven minutes of the half.
“They played well for us. The girls work so hard,” Joler said. “We try to keep that momentum that we get from our forwards, and our midline is strong, playing both sides. Tonight it worked.”
Roth nearly scored again at the 20-minute mark, putting a shot on net, only to have teammate Bella Coulombe stick the ball into the cage for EL’s fifth goal of the game.
“It feels amazing to help someone score a goal,” Roth said. “I was trying to get it to the goal, but it went too far out so I was hoping she would tip it in.”
Brunswick made a couple of charges, but it was too late. As coach Paquin pointed out, digging out of a 5-0 hole isn’t easy.
“They (Brunswick) came back hard in the last two minutes and started shooting on goal, we just need to do that all game,” the Brunswick coach said. “We didn’t get that fire until there was two minutes left on the clock, and at that point, you’re not coming back from a five-goal deficit.”
Edward Little completed the shutout when Syphers stopped three shots in the final minutes to preserve the blanking.
Joler credits the leadership her team puts forth in practice and out on the field.
“We’ve got three captains, but honestly, we could have a ton more. They feed off each other, which I think is super-important,” Joler said.
“Our captains are very encouraging,” Roth said. “But what we really focus on is talking to each other, communicating a lot.”
As for Brunswick, it’s only game one and Paquin understands a lot can be learned from this.
“About halfway through, my assistant coach saw something I was doing wrong,” Paquin said. “So I started video taping their play. I am going to sit down and watch it and I am going to analyze the video myself and see what we need to work on.
“But I also want the girls to watch, so I’m giving them homework tonight since they don’t have school yet. They, too, are going to watch the video and analyze it. We need to see where we’re breaking down and need to fill in the gaps.”
Edward Little’s Mikaela Scott hits the ball off the stick of Brunswick’s Shea Sullivan. (Eric Maxim/Brunswick Times Record)