AUBURN – Although their mothers may not have approved, the St. Dom’s field hockey team had plenty of incentive to play in the rain.

A sizeable Homecoming crowd braved the wet conditions and cold temperatures to cheer on the Saints as they faced Sacopee Valley, a team that had handed them an overtime loss last year on Homecoming weekend. Even without the revenge angle thown in, another chance to remain undefeated didn’t hurt the Saints’ motivation either.

“The crowd really pumped us up. It’s great to see that we have such great school spirit,” said Saints forward Mary Lewis. “We didn’t want to lose to them again on Homecoming, and we wanted to keep our undefeated season, so we had to win today.”

Top-ranked St. Dom’s (7-0), sparked by Lewis’s two first-half goals, followed up its big win earlier in the week over Class B power Greely by defeating the fourth-ranked Hawks, 2-0. Austyn Carolin stopped all three shots that she faced in the Saints’ cage to preserve the win.

St. Dom’s took the play to Sacopee Valley for long stretches, behind strong pushes up the field by the Saints forwards and midfielders. Lewis was the first Saint to convert on a scoring chance, pouncing on a slow rolling deflection of an Eliza Dox pass in front of the cage. The sophomore forward struck the ball hard into the lower left corner from seven yards out to put St. Dom’s on the board in the 11th minute.

Lewis added an unassisted goal with 12:58 remaining in the half, breaking in from the right wing. Sacopee keeper Brittany Sterling moved out of the net to cut down the shooting angle, and Lewis bounced a shot past her left pad to the far corner of the net.

The wet conditions of the field predictably led to some blooper-reel trips and slides by both teams.

“It was really slippery out there, but we did a good job of staying on our feet and moving the ball up the field,” said Lewis. “We knew the conditions might hurt us some today, but we took advantage of the fact that it’s our field, and we knew how to play on it. We just had to go with it.”

With the possibility of the game being suspended after it became official at half-time, the Saints worked to put the score in their favor early.

“I told the girls that if the field was going to be slick, we needed to dig in a little deeper and to play to the ball more. We knew the first couple of goals would be key,” said Saints coach Brian Kay.

St. Dom’s continued to apply pressure in the second half, but the Hawks (4-2-1) had a few scattered chances. Meagan Donovan pushed a pass to Kayla Crowley in front of the net in the final minutes, but Crowley’s bid to end Carolin’s shutout sailed wide.

“Today was a very hard fought game,” said Sacopee coach Katie Bernier. “Right now we’re ranked fourth (in the Heal rankings). We’d like to move up to avoid playing the fifth-ranked team in the tournament, and we knew coming into this game today that if we beat St. Dom’s, we would move up in the rankings. Unfortunately it just didn’t work out that way for us.”

“I really didn’t expect this (being undefeated),” said Kay. “We lost seven seniors from last year, and we have only four seniors this year. We have a strong junior class, and our sophomores and freshmen step it up when we need them. The team attitude that we have is so key. They come to play.”

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