The St. Dom’s keeper faced the unenviable task of backstopping her Saints against two-time defending Class B champion York, a team looking to earn its 40th consecutive win with a lineup that would be a force across all classes of play in Maine.

After some early jitters, Slonina stood tall, and the defense in front of her was stout.

Stout, but not airtight.

York struck early and peppered Slonina for most of the game, earning a tight 2-1 win over St. Dom’s in a Western Maine Conference battle between unfamiliar foes.

“We saw some of their highlights, so we kind of knew what we were getting,” St. Dom’s coach Brian Kay said. “Defensively, we had to mark up on them and play tough.”

And while Kay was quick to praise all-state star Lily Posternak, it was clear Saturday that she was not the Wildcats’ only weapon. Julia Harrod, Jessa Smith and Izzy Bretz were among those who swarmed Slonina, particularly in the second half as the visitors tried to extend a two-goal lead.

“We are always looking to press up and create some opportunities in the circle,” York coach Barb Marois said. “It’s a matter of finishing, which we weren’t able to do today.”

The opportunities were there for York, though. The Wildcats took 11 shots in the first half, and 16 more in the second. They earned 23 penalty corners on the game to the Saints’ three.

And yet, with just shy of 16 minutes to play in the game, against the flow of play, Callie Samson gave the Saints hope, finishing a flurry in front of York keeper Julianna Kiklis to pull the home team within a goal.

“The kids played great, they played with them, the defense played outstanding,” Kay said. “It’s good for us to see this, for the rest of the season.”

Instead of allowing the Saints to seize the momentum, though, York started to fire back harder, controlling play for the rest of the contest. The Wildcats thought they’d restored their two-goal cushion in the final 10 minutes of play, but officials disallowed a goal after they ruled the shot off a penalty corner had risen too high before clacking the board in the back of the net behind Slonina.

Two first-half shots, one each from Harrod and Posternak, were the only two to officially slip past the Saints keeper, whose play drew praise from both coaches.

“She did a nice job,” Marois said.

“The first one may have been soft a bit, she was a little nervous,” Kay said. “But she settled down and she played great.”

With little information available about the Saints to prepare for the contest, Marois and the Wildcats relied on a tried and true method of preparation.

“You just work to play your own game,” Marois said. “You try to get things going, and hopefully things take care of themselves. You don’t have to game plan, it’s just a matter of, once the game starts, if you notice things the other team is doing, to make adjustments that way.”

York’s win streak now stands at 40. Marois borrowed New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick’s thoughts on that one.

“It’s the old Belichick mantra, right? One game at a time,” Marois said.


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