AUBURN — St. Dom’s field hockey coach Brian Kay said Tuesday he looks at the first playoff game of the postseason as the toughest for a team to handle.
The top-seeded Saints certainly had their hands full against No. 8 Lisbon at home, but ultimately had too much power for the visiting Greyhounds.
Lisbon gave its all in the first half, but two goals from Hannah Trottier-Braun in the final minute of the opening frame helped lead the Saints run away with a 4-0 victory.
“You figure the first 10 minutes in the playoffs, everybody would be strong,” Kay said. “We went to watch (Lisbon) on Saturday and this was a different team that we played today then they played against Traip. We seem to bring out the best in a lot of teams, which is good. All in all, we adjusted to it. After we got that second and third goal, the momentum changes.”
Eighth-seeded Lisbon (3-11-2) came out firing in the first 20-plus minutes of the game and had possession time in the offensive zone. They were only able to get one shot off in that stretch and it was their only one of the game, but Saints goalie Abby Slonina had to make a nice kick save.
“I thought we really had a great first half,” Lisbon coach Julie Petrie said. “We had couple of breakdowns that unfortunately got us down. We didn’t want to be down by three at the half, but in the second half we used so much energy in the first half that we didn’t have much offensive power that we would like to have.”
The early pressure by the Greyhounds forced Kay to call a timeout with 18:37 remaining in the opening half. St. Dom’s settled down after that and Trottier-Braun responded shortly thereafter, blasting the ball past keeper Mikaylia Harnden. Paige Cote had the assist.
“When we got that first goal, it really started the momentum and we started to play better,” Trottier-Braun said. “The last five minutes in the first half, we played really well as a team. We passed and talked, it worked well.”
Harnden was on her game with 11 minutes remaining in the half as she made three straight stops to keep the deficit at one.
She made 12 saves on the afternoon.
“She had a phenomenal game and has been big for us all season,” Petrie said. “She plays with a lot of heart and she plays literally until the last minute. She had a goal in mind today to play her best game with no regrets. I am really proud of her because she stopped some really great balls.”
Cote and Trottier-Braun teamed up again with 59 seconds remaining in the half when Cote found Trottier-Braun in the circle to make it 2-0. With 13 seconds remaining, Trottier-Braun scored on a breakaway
Trottier-Braun’s hat trick extends her state record for career goals to 108. She has 58 goals this season.
St. Dom’s (15-0) hasn’t had too many close games at halftime.
“We never been in that situation other than York,” Kay said. “Even the York game we could easily been 5-0 for us. We missed five goals that were an inch from going in. Had those gone in it (would have been a different game.) A win is a win and we had a week off too. We were thinking of getting a scrimmage but again, you don’t want injuries or anything like that.”
Cote stretched the lead to 4-0 early in the second half from a feed from Trottier-Braun and Kylie Leavitt.
While Lisbon struggled to get the ball out of their own defensive zone in the second half, Petrie was impressed with the defensive effort.
“St. Dom’s clamped down and Brian knows me and I was going to try to fire them up in the second half,” Petrie said. “They did really well and they are a great team and we knew we would play our best the whole game today to compete with them. The second half, we struggled on offense, I thought we played well defensively as we only let up one goal. I think we played a little tentative for sure.”
St. Dom’s will host Dirigo in the regional semifinals on Friday.