POLAND — First-year Poland field hockey coach Kayla Royer wanted the Knights to make an impact in the Western Maine Conference this season. On Thursday, they put a statement win on the resume with a 4-3 victory over Freeport overtime.
The Knights came back from a 3-1 deficit in the second half to improve to 7-3 on the season.
“At the beginning of the season, the one thing I kept telling (the players): people will know what Poland field hockey is all about,” Royer said. “That’s definitely the message they are sending out throughout the conference. That’s what I wanted them to do.”
Freeport coach Macia Wood wasn’t disappointed in her team’s effort.
“That’s what we we kind of finished talking about, this is why it’s a heartbreaking loss because they did played well,” Wood said. “You alway think if you play well, you deserve to win. So it’s hard when it doesn’t come that way.”
Olivia Bell got the ball rolling for the comeback by scoring to cut the deficit to 3-2 with 14:24 remaining in the game. Brianna Doucette picked up the assist.
Doucette set up the tying marker when she fed Desiree Minard, who potted her second goal of the game with 2:36 remaining in the game.
In the overtime session, the Falcons (6-3-1) had the first opportunity to break the tie. Ashton Sturtevant, Poland’s sophomore goalkeeper, came up big, though, making one of her five saves.
The save sparked the Knights, as they carried the play the rest of the way.
After setting up the previous two goals, Doucette found an opening in the circle for the game-winning goal.
“They pump themselves up, it’s all a team effort, they all pump each other up,” Royer said. “I mean, there’s really no one person. Our success, I mean, they work off each other. There’s no one individual person holds all the weight on their back.”
Freeport controlled the play in the first half, jumping out to a 2-0 lead. Hannah Groves fired a shot past Sturtevant with 19:39 left in the opening half. Kerry Lefebrve put home the second goal with 8:05 remaining.
Poland built some momentum going into the second half when Minard ripped a shot past Falcons keeper Katelyn Rouleau with 1:49 remaining in the first half. The assist came from Autumn Willis.
Rouleau made three saves in the game.
Alexa Koenig bulldozed her way to the goal to put the Falcons up 3-1 with just under 17 minutes remaining in the second half.
“That’s what we have been exactly saying, get on the goalie, get aggressive, get the grit and all that,” Wood said. “Hopefully it will pay off, and it did (on Koenig’s goal).”