DIXFIELD — The ability to pressure the ball and score quickly has been Oak Hill field hockey’s bread and butter, and it served the team well again Tuesday afternoon in the Raiders’ Mountain Valley Conference regular-season finale against Dirigo.

Maegan Sheehy and Hayden Spencer scored goals in a 63-second span early in the second half as Oak Hill pulled together and played as a unit in a 4-1 triumph over Dirigo at Harlow Park.

These was a lot on the line, given the teams’ positions in the standings, and the teams’ recent history. Oak Hill (13-1), first in the Class C South Heal points, had extra incentive, given its lone blemish is a 1-0 loss to Dirigo last month.

The Raiders are scheduled to play Winthrop in the Mountain Valley Conference championship game this Friday at Thomas College in Waterville.

”In the second half, the girls came together,” Oak Hill coach Betsy Gilbert said. ”We had talked doing that during halftime. Dirigo had double teamed us throughout the first half and we were unable to (execute). The intensity to win was the difference.”

Sixth-ranked Dirigo (7-7) was hoping to get back on track following being shutout by playoff-bound teams Lisbon and Winthrop. The Cougars came out on fire for the first few minutes in the second half. Sophia Jacques hit a high shot off the left post and a Raider stick infraction dictated a penalty corner. Lauren Ferland passed over to Kayla Brooks who flicked the ball past Oak Hill goalie MacKenzie Thibeault (3 saves), to tie the score 1-1, 1:28 in to the second half.

”The team really picked it up in the second half,” Dirigo coach Gretchen Curtis said. ”We just need to focus on the fundamentals. We always seemed to be a step behind, (allowing the balls to sail through). This is a young team and without a JV team, some of the kids were out there (learning on fly) and could have benefited from playing more.”

The pressure was short-lived. Oak Hill midfielders Mercedes Pease and Zoe Buteau took over, advancing ball to the offensive zone. Abby Asselin carried the ball in and Sheehy redirected the ball past Dirigo goalie Morgan Morrow (16 saves), who was unable to rotate over.

Asselin had scored off a Buteau feed, with 5:31 left in first half, as well.

Oak Hill seemingly slammed the door when Spencer blasted a forehand shot by Morrow’s leg pad with 20:35 remaining.

”We came up here with a mindset of carrying over the momentum from beating Lisbon, last week,” said Gilbert, who stressed passing with a purpose and take proper angles. ”We always have close games against Dirigo. They are a well-coached team.”

Raider fullback Lexi Fuller cleared away several loose balls, while Dirigo fullbacks Alexa Varnum and Ashley Walker were forced to pack it in.

Dirigo regained its offense and was awarded a penalty corner. An apparent goal by Brooks was waved off because she had failed too bring the ball out of the circle.

”That took the wind out of us,” Curtis said.

Pease scored in the final minute for the Radiers.


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