POLAND — It probably felt like the game clock couldn’t move any slower and that the two-goal lead couldn’t feel any less secure.

Clinging to that lead, the Poland girls’ soccer team watched York attempt to rally Tuesday. The Wildcats dominated most of the second half but couldn’t finish the comeback against a scrappy and determined group of Knights. Poland held on for a 2-1 win in their Western B quarterfinal.

“I told the girls once we got up 2-0 that if they scored one, the momentum was going to shift,” said Poland coach Andrew Pelletier. “Luckily, we made it through, but we definitely gave up a lot of chances we don’t normally give up.”

Poland built a 2-0 lead on goals by Emma Turton and Emily Bolduc. The second goal came after York began to hem in the Knights’ defense. After the goal, York came at Poland even stronger.

“The last two minutes when we played Falmouth, we went to every single ball at all cost,” said Turton, whose team beat Falmouth 1-0. “That’s what we wanted to do again. We just needed to get the ball and get it away from our goal.”

Desipte outshooting Poland 9-4 in the second half and 16-8 overall, the Wildcats couldn’t get the equalizer.

“I had everybody up,” said York coach Wally Caldwell. “It’s tough to have that much momentum and not come out of here with a W.”

The reward for the win was a historic first quarterfinal victory for the girls’ program, which advance to the semifinals for the first time against top-ranked Morse.

“It’s the best feeling,” said Bolduc.

Fourth-ranked Poland (8-5-2) had never earned a home playoff game let alone reached the quarterfinals without having avoided a prelim. To top it off, the win was the first-ever over York.

“We’ve had a lot of firsts this year, which is a great thing,” said Pelletier. “Hopefully, they don’t stop coming our way.”

Poland got the upperhand early when Bolduc won the ball in the midfield and sprung Turton up front. She beat a pair of defenders and blasted the breakaway past York keeper Madison Patten with 24:30 left in the half.

“She made an amazing ball, right where she needed to,” said Turton of Bolduc’s pass. “I just ran onto it. We’ve done that for hours in practice. I went to the side as far as I could and then cut in when it was right and shot it with my left foot.”

Turton returned the favor early in the second half. Her flip throw landed in the goalmouth. Bolduc was there to steer it home with 28:55 left in regulation.

“It was really all her,” said Bolduc. “She put the ball in the perfect spot. Anybody could have done it.”

Fifth-seeded York (7-7-1) was a very effective passing team but couldn’t produce an abundance of great chances. Courtney Cole and Olivia Leroux had the best opportunities in the first half, but Poland goalie Haley Whitworth made the saves.

After falling behind 2-0, Samantha Robinson had a shot saved from in front. Moments later, a breakdown defensively allowed the Wildcats to get the ball away from Whitworth. Shannon Todd put it into the net with 21:40 left.

That gave York plenty of momentum, and the Wildcats put the pressure on Poland the rest of the way. Elaine Cavalieri had a shot from in front saved. Then Kayla Swaysey had a curling shot that Whitworth stopped with seven minutes left.

Though Poland’a defense bent, it didn’t break down. The Knights rallied to the ball and began to break up York’s attack in the final minutes.

“My team, if we put the ball in the net, we’re as good as anybody,” said Caldwell. “They got the ball in the net, and we didn’t. We have had trouble all year. We’ve been shutout seven times this year. Imagine that with the way we possess, but I don’t have a finisher. I’ve got people trying in there, and we had some good shots.”

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