And it didn’t take long for the Wildcats to prove it.

Taylor Simpson fired a shot through traffic and into the cage just 1:06 into the game — her first of three — and added another goal and an assist in short order as York bolted out to a three-goal lead and never looked back in a 6-0 win over Spruce Mountain in the Western Class B regional field hockey final at Thornton Academy’s Hill Stadium.

York will play Nokomis in Saturday’s Class B state championship game at Yarmouth.

“We picked a good day to have a good game,” York coach Barb Marois said. We had so many girls contribute today. It was great to see.”

The Wildcats (15-0) have been dominant in the Western Maine Conference all season, and showed why Tuesday with a commanding performance.

Simpson, freshman Lilian Poasternak and senior Sarah Panteleos led an offensive charge that combined speed and skill to create several scoring chances while keeping the ball from the Spruce Mountain midfielders.

“They had incredible stickhandling, that’s for certain,” Spruce Mountain co-coach Julia Parker said. “They have real good sticks. I think we could run with them, as far as hanging with them. We’ve been able to run with teams all season, and we have good speed and depth. But they definitely had good stickwork.”

Without an ability to control the ball in the middle, the Phoenix (13-1-1) had a hard time transitioning to offense, and the team’s speed was stymied.

“They clobbered us right at the beginning, and the emotional toll that took was tough,” Spruce Mountain co-coach Jane DiPompo said.

It didn’t take long for York to assert its dominance Tuesday. Simpson controlled the ball on a penalty corner and fired the ball on net. It changed direction at the last second and found its way past Spruce Mountain keeper Kasey Richards.

“Any kind of game like this, if you can get an early lead, it helps the girls kind of settle into what they need to do and it gives them a chance to kind of relax a little bit, and you can put your opponent on their heels a little bit, too,” Marois said.

Seven minutes later, Simpson drove the ball through the defense and into the cage for a 2-0 York lead.

Just 1:19 after that, Simpson again set up a goal, this time feeding Panteleos for a shot that just trickled over the line past Richards.

After a short halftime on a frigid night, the Phoenix tried to heat things up in the second stanza, but got little pressure going the other way on York’s defense.

“We were talking about that at the half, because all season, once the girls score a goal, they get lifted up,” Parker said.

“That first half we had, it goes out the window if we don’t play a solid second half, too,” Marois said. “We wiped the board clean and we started 0-0 in our minds.”

Hampering the Phoenix’s efforts, senior leader Randi Duguay left the game with what appeared to be a leg injury. She was already back on the sideline and in a brace by the end of the game.

“She’s been a key player for us all year,” Parker said, “and she would have been one of the players, she’s one of the players who has turf experience. It’s tough when you don’t play on turf at all.”

Simpson finished off her hat trick 8:04 into the second half for a 4-0 York lead. Panteleos made it 5-0 with 16:28 to play, and Kathleen Cronin capped the scoring with 12:27 to play.


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.