SCARBOROUGH — All Leavitt wanted to do this season was make the playoffs.

Now, the Hornets have a chance to cap an improbably playoff run with a second piece of hardware.

Bri DeGone converted on a penalty corner with 19:39 to play in regulation and the Leavitt defense clamped down from there as the Hornets won their third consecutive one-goal playoff game, a 1-0 victory over York, to earn the Western Class B field hockey title and a trip to the Class B state championship in Orono.The Hornets will play Belfast for the state crown on Saturday.

“It’s been a long time,” Leavitt coach Wanda Ward-MacLean said. “The last couple times we were in the Western Maine championship, we lost. I can’t remember the last time we went to states.”

For the record, Leavitt last went to the state title game in 1997, losing to Winslow. The Hornets last won a state crown in 1996.

“No, oh my God, no,” DeGone said when asked if the team thought it would be contending for a state crown. “Last year, when we lost our nine seniors, we were totally devastated, like this wasn’t even an option for us. Our goal was just to make the playoffs and get further than we did last year, which was first round. To be be here right now, going to states, is just surreal. It’s crazy to think of, especially how young we are.”

Leavitt starts only one senior — center midfielder and defender Morgan Shaw — and has just one other on the roster.

The Wildcats were in the title game after upending top-seeded Lake Region in the semifinal round, and Spruce Mountain in overtime in the quarterfinals.

“I thought we were still battling, it was tight and competitive most of the way,” York coach Barb Marois said. “I think we just gave them too many opportunities. They had more corners than we did, so when you do that, you’re playing with fire a little bit.”

The Hornets’ goal came on one of those penalty corner opportunities. The ball kicked out to the top of the circle and then back in on the cage, where DeGone controlled it and batted it past York keeper Amanda Kasbohm.

“Our corners are a direct shot, and I work on the pads,” DeGone said. “So my main job is to get around the goalie. I block her and try to get it to either corner. It worked. For the first time all season it was picture perfect.”

York’s offense has run through junior Taylor Simpson all season. She’s scored 11 goals and assisted on six others, but Leavitt made it hard for her — and the rest of the York offense — to move.

“Inside the 25, yeah, they were tough,” Marois said. “Otherwise, I thought we were moving the ball down the field. I think they just collapsed on people and didn’t give us room to move.”

Leavitt faced adversity nearly from the beginning of the game, as starting midfielder Annie Castonguay tried to cut with Simpson, turned awkwardly and fell to the turf in pain. She left the game and hobbled back out to the awards ceremony on crutches.

“She’s crucial to this team, and without her, everyone was scared,” DeGone said.

“That was hard, that was really hard, to see her go down like that and not be able to go back in,” Ward-MacLean said. “But the kids who came in to replace her did a great job. We moved some kids around in the second half, too, just to give us a little more stability there.”

The Hornets held on in the final minutes as York pushed for the tying goal. Sierra Santamango held tough in net, stopping all three shots she faced to post the shutout.

“Any time you have a one-goal lead, it’s very nerve-wracking, for the players and us,” Ward-MacLean said. “Anything can happen with just that one goal.”

Leavitt vs York field hockey


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.