LIVERMORE FALLS — Coaches get antsy about the prospect of a playoff rematch against a team they’ve soundly beaten twice, particularly when it’s a rival.
Livermore Falls field hockey players wouldn’t admit to any anxiety about Tuesday’s single-elimination encounter with Jay.
“It just pumps us up more,” said Kim Theriault.
The No. 2 Andies gave the impression that this Western Class C quarterfinal could have been played 10 or 20 times with the same result: In this case, a 6-0 shutout of the No. 7 Tigers.
Livermore Falls also swept Jay 9-1 and 5-2 during the Mountain Valley Conference campaign.
“I was nervous coming into it because it was Jay. We can’t underestimate them because who knows how they’ll show up? I stayed nervous until they got the first goal,” said Livermore Falls coach Julia Parker.
Kathryn Ventrella notched that goal 11 minutes into the game and finished with three for the Andies, who will host North Yarmouth Academy in Saturday’s semifinals.
Theriault added a goal and two assists for Livermore Falls (14-1). Megan Therrien and Erin Gats also scored for the Andies.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game,” said Ventrella, “so we just came out and played our hardest.”
Jay (5-10) last played its neighbor on Sept. 28 and completed its regular season on Friday, Oct. 8.
That was ample down time for the Tigers to at least practice some new wrinkles for use against the Andies. Jay switched from four forwards to three in an effort to crowd Livermore Falls’ passing lanes in the midfield.
“We changed everything for this game. We changed lines. We changed the way we look. We did anything we could,“ said Jay coach Jane DiPompo. “We’ve been toying with a 3-3-3, but we hadn’t jumped into it with two feet.”
That makeover paid brief, early dividends, with Jay producing its only shot of the game against Livermore Falls goalkeeper Caylee Morris while keeping the Andies off the board.
Ventrella broke through by following her own rebound off the pads of Jay goalie Ashlee Quirrion.
It stayed 1-0 until seven minutes before the half, when Theriault and Ventrella each connected in a 62-second span to build a more comfortable halftime margin.
Theriault redirected a free hit by Annika Durrell. She then assisted Ventrella’s second goal of the afternoon on a penalty corner.
“Three-nothing at halftime was still anybody’s game,” Parker said. “They could have come back."
Ventrella slammed that door in a hurry, completing her hat trick courtesy of another corner less than two minutes into the second half.
Sam Greenwood set up Therrien’s goal to make it 5-0. Gats later tipped a Theriault blast into the open cage after Quirrion (18 saves) made the initial stop.
For its part, Livermore Falls also made subtle changes to its defensive alignment with an eye on slowing Jay’s Brittany DiPompo.
“We knew she would be a force for them,” Parker said. “She has great stick work. She’s definitely the go-to person. She works very hard for them out there.”
“Defense did a great job stopping the ball and passing it back to the front,” added Ventrella.
Four seniors — DiPompo, Cassie Beliveau, Lindsay Couture and Bri Farrington — played their final game for Jay.
“They all were starters and they were all key players. We counted on them,” Coach DiPompo said. “Livermore’s good. They’re explosive, and they certainly aren’t 13-1 for nothing. I wish them luck, but I’m also proud of this team.”