PORTLAND — There was no stopping it.

After almost 100 minutes of hard-fought, end-to-end soccer in the girls’ Class D state championship at Fitzpatrick Stadium on Saturday, Ashland utilized a weapon Richmond simply doesn’t have.

In the second overtime period, Hornets winger Morgan Doughty swung a corner into the box from the far side. Cassidy Pelletier, easily the tallest player on the pitch, was ready for it. She rose up, headed into the back of the net and gave Ashland the thrilling 2-1 overtime victory.

Marked or not, no one was beating her to the ball.

“Coming out of this with a loss, it’s too bad,” Richmond senior captain Meranda Martin said. “But, honestly, the game could have gone either way. We had our chances, they had their chances. Everyone played their heart out and played their best and I’m very pleased with this game.”

“I liked the way the kids never quit,” Richmond coach Troy Kendrick said. “They kept knocking on the door. We’re not very deep and the kids were exhausted. Using a cliché, “Leaving it all on the field,” but I think we left it all on the field today. Can’t ask any more than that.”


No. 1 Richmond (15-2) was nearly the one celebrating. Late in the first overtime period, the Bobcats earned a throw-in deep into No. 1 Ashland’s (18-0) territory. It was settled quickly and crossed into the box, where it skimmed off the post and back into danger. The Hornets frantically cleared it away.

On another sequence in the second overtime period, midfielder Caitlin Kendrick was through on goal. She dribbled into the box and loaded up for a shot, but was pressured from behind and watched it sail wide.

Inches away from back-to-back state titles.

“My biggest job through the postseason was just convincing the girls that we could play with these guys,” coach Kendrick said. “We had a really strong team last year, beat them 1-0, and we knew they brought back most of their lineup. Obviously, we graduated a bunch of kids. ‘You’ve got to believe in yourself, guys.’ I thought we acquitted ourselves pretty well today.”

Wide open

A pair of Ashland corners and some early pressure turned into a pitch-perfect start for Richmond at the 12:46 mark in the first half.


After earning a free-kick outside the box, defender Camryn Hurley sent in what looked like an underwhelming ball. It bounced into traffic and deflected off a few feet before Richmond’s Emma Carbone poked it into space. Kendrick was there to finish it into the corner and make the score 1-0.

“There was a scramble and I was just waiting for someone to get a touch out to me so I could lay a shot on,” Caitlin Kendrick said.

Given that they had yet to concede a goal in the postseason, the Bobcats had Ashland right where they wanted it.

“Ideally, that’s what you’d like to do,” Kendrick said of the lead. “I knew, obviously, we had a lot of game to play. I slipped back another defender and we we’re going to try and sit on it a little bit. They have a bunch of weapons, so I knew it was going to be a long 40 minutes.”

It sure was.

Ashland forced a couple saves on Richmond keeper Sydney Tilton before flying out of the gates again in the second frame. Just over three minutes in, the Hornets moved the ball into the 18-yard box and tried to clear a path for goal. Three players fell to the pitch before freshman Willow Hall stepped up and fired it past Tilton to even the score. Kendrick and the Richmond bench went ballistic pleading for a foul, but the goal stood and it was game on.


“They’ve got great foot skills,” Caitlin Kendrick said of Ashland. “All 11 kids on the field are the real deal. They can all put the ball in the net and they’re just fast, all of them.”

By the numbers

Unlike most offenses the Richmond back line faces, Ashland brought speed and width to the table. Especially on a fast, unfamiliar playing surface, Hurley and company were forced to adjust.

“I asked my midfielders to check back and kind of double down on them,” Troy Kendrick said. “Everyone stepped up — it was a great team effort. I’m very proud of the kids.”

“The only thing that was really hard for us was it’s so fast,” Martin said of the turf. “We have played on a lot of fast fields this year because the grass has been dead. Our goal was to slow it down and play our game.”

The Hornets took 11 corners in all, coming close on a couple loose ones in front of goal. Tilton was faced with seven shots on frame (12 total), handling all but the two scores cleanly.


Given the circumstances of the two goals, Kendrick said he couldn’t have asked for more.

“I was very pleased with our defenders,” he said. “They knew they were going to have their hands full because they have the (Mackenzie) Carter girl, who I think is a 100-goal scorer. They’ve got a bunch of kids that are very prolific. We just knew we were going to have to button down.”

On the other end, Richmond forced five saves of Megan Cote and took 11 total shots. Winger Destiny Anair played a couple very dangerous balls into the box from the far right, and two of the Bobcats’ five corners took a breath out of the Fitzpatrick Stadium crowd.

The chances were there, but in much fewer numbers than the usual. What might normally be effective through-balls up to Martin at forward went nowhere Saturday.

“They’re sweeper, she’s very tough. If she gets the ball, she can boot it far,” Martin said of Pelletier. “My team just needed to kick the ball to my feet. You can’t just boot it up there, because if she gets the ball, she’s going to boot it the other way and it’s going to be a wasted run. Teams like this, you have to play the ball to feet and figure it out.”

It’s about a 45-minute bus ride to Portland from Richmond High School, but Kendrick said the road his team took to get there was much longer. If you had asked him about getting back to a state championship earlier this summer, he probably would have laughed it off.

“They bought into it, they worked hard, they put their time into it,” Kendrick said. “Just really proud of the kids. More than a lot of teams in recent memory, I thought we made a lot of tremendous strides. The kids grew as a team. I’m going to miss those seniors.”

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