TOPSHAM — When the Lewiston field hockey team defeated Mt. Ararat 2-0 early in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference season, Blue Devils senior netminder Ravon Palmer was responsible for turning the tide in Lewiston’s favor.
In Wednesday’s Eastern Maine Class A quarterfinal matchup, Mt. Ararat figured out a way to slip the ball behind the Lewiston standout goaltender.
Spearheaded by four one-timed goals from Eagles midfielder Caitlin LaFountain, Mt. Ararat walked away with a 4-0 victory.
The win sends the Eagles to the Eastern A semifinals with an 11-4 record, while the Blue Devils’ campaign comes to a close at 9-6.
“All I can say is they are a remarkable bunch, one of the best I have ever had the pleasure of coaching,” said first-year Lewiston coach Randy Richardson, who turned the team around after a 2-9-3 mark last year.
“They have worked so hard this year, and to be able to see them put it all together and finish, I am at a loss right now,” said Mt. Ararat coach Kelly LaFountain. “Yes, Caitlin scored the goals, but everyone did their job, got the ball up the field and made the passes. It was a great team effort today.”
Despite controlling play throughout the first half, Mt. Ararat had trouble getting a thing past Palmer, who made six saves in the first 25 minutes to keep the game scoreless. And, the Lewiston defense of Ally Osgood, Laurianne Murphy and Margaruette Seguin did a good job keeping the Eagles from setting up shop in front of the cage.
But, Mt. Ararat forward Carly Raymond found room along the sideline and sent a pass in front of the Lewiston goal. The junior LaFountain didn’t stop the ball, instead choosing to step into a one-timer. The hard shot was behind Palmer before the netminder had a chance to move, giving the Eagles a 1-0 Eagles lead with 4:41 left until halftime.
Two minutes later, just like an instant replay, Raymond and LaFountain hooked up again as LaFountain buried a shot just past the toe of Palmer for a 2-0 edge.
“If you stop the ball, Ravon will come right out and stop them every time, so we had to be aggressive, one touch and make sure she can’t see it to score on her,” said Caitlin LaFountain.
“I knew what they were going to do, but the shots were perfect and there wasn’t much that I could do,” said Palmer.
Mt. Ararat clung to the lead throughout the second half behind the defense of Mallory Nelson, Sarah Sandlin, Paige Perry and Katelyn Beedy, holding Lewiston without a shot until 10 minutes remained when Talarico and Natalie Rousseau put two quick shots on Eagles goaltender Taylor Pare (two saves).
By that time, the Eagles’ advantage had blossomed to three goals, with Raymond and LaFountain (instant replay No. 2) hooking up in similar fashion for a 3-0 Mt. Ararat edge.
“We work on that play, crossing from the right and one-timing a shot into the goal, and today it worked out well,” said Raymond, who finished with three assists.
LaFountain completed her day in style with her fourth goal, this one assisted by Charlotte Crosby with 53 seconds remaining.
“I have watched ever since I was little, so to do this for ourselves was just awesome today,” said LaFountain.
Mt. Ararat outshot Lewiston 17-2, with Palmer turning aside 14 shots. The Blue Devils held a 4-3 edge in penalty corners.
“Even through we didn’t make it past the first round, I am so proud of my team,” said Lewiston’s Janessa Talarico. “We came a long way this year, and I feel that the future is bright for this program. Going from two wins to nine, it was a big improvement.”