SCARBOROUGH — On opening day of fall tryouts, Arianna Kahler watched her teammates complete a timed run. She spent her time flicking balls into an empty cage, practicing skills that involved little movement.
A leg injury prevented the expected leader of a young Lisbon front line from doing any more.
And it killed her.
Thursday, the rest of the team watched Kahler as she raised her arms in celebration.
She scored a golden goal with 9.4 seconds remaining in the second overtime of the Western Class C title game to lift the Greyhounds to a 2-1 win over Oak Hill.
Kahler, as much as anyone else on the team, deserved to score the winner.
“Her leg, and then she broke her thumb,” Lisbon coach Julie Petrie said, gesturing to Kahler’s right wrist, where a cast grew into the palm of her hand. “She hasn’t been our scorer, per se, this season, but she’s been a very big piece of the puzzle. She helped a lot of the younger players get where they are right now to have that confidence and will to score.”
Sophomores Kaitlyn Philbrick, Bree Daigle and Chase Collier joined Kahler up front. Early in the season, finding chemistry was a challenge.
“We weren’t really sure how far we were going to go, being such a young team, losing 11 seniors,” Kahler said. “I could honestly not be more surprised or more happy with how far we’ve gone. I’m so proud of all of the underclassmen who have stepped it up and have wanted it as much as we do.”
Indeed it was a sophomore — Collier — with whom Kahler played give-and-go with seconds ticking away in the second overtime period, a play that ultimately earned Lisbon a second regional crown in three years.
“(Kahler)’s been a great leader for us, she’s more vocal this year,” Petrie said. “She’s in it, she wants it, she’s playing hard all the time. She’s been one of the great senior leaders on this team.”
Playing for a second state crown is something around which Kahler is still trying to wrap her thoughts. On the field, there is no questioning her drive.
“She loves field hockey and she will do whatever she can, whatever it takes to keep going,” Petrie said.
And to have the chance as a senior, and as a captain?
“This is the best that I could ask for being a senior,” Kahler said.