Spruce Mountain’s Morgan Dalton, right, works to keep the ball away from Lisbon’s Haven Ramsey in high school field hockey action Wednesday afternoon at Lisbon High School. Spruce Mountain won, 4-1.

LISBON — For 30-plus minutes, the Lisbon High School field hockey team held off every Spruce Mountain charge in the opening of the Mountain Valley Conference season on Wednesday.

The Phoenix, who returned to the MVC after a few seasons in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference, finally found the net, not once but four times en route to a 4-1 victory.

It was an Alexis Beardsley goal 4:38 into the second half that broke the ice for Spruce Mountain (1-0), and goals by Megan Fowler and Emily Castonguay less than four minutes later provided the push the Phoenix needed to take control.

“It definitely picked up the pace for our team and gave us that fire the rest of the way,” said Beardsley, whose goal was assisted by Morgan Dalton. “That goal changed the pace of the game. We wanted to continue to do what we were doing in the first half. We just needed to score.”

“We started to continually put the pressure on them and the passing was pretty good today,” said Spruce Mountain second-year coach Tanya Evans, whose Phoenix host Dirigo on Friday.

Lisbon coach Julie Petrie watched her team pressure early, with the Greyhounds earning a penalty stroke 7:03 into the contest. Morgan Fenderson sent a rising shot toward Spruce Mountain goaltender Sydney Shaffer (four saves), but the ball banged high off the post and wide to keep the game scoreless.

From there, the Phoenix pressured the Lisbon defense, earning 11 corners and out-shooting the Greyhounds, 7-3, in the opening half.

“We’re still not conditioned yet, and we’re young. It will take some time for us to figure it out,” said Petrie, who was pleased with her defense and netminder Mikaylia Harnden, who had 22 saves. “To have Spruce back is great, and we will see them again. To play them to a 0-0 half shows that we can play with them.”

Big run

After Beardsley’s goal, Fowler finally made the Greyhounds pay for all the corners by tipping home a pass from Aurianna Armandi with 22:14 remaining. Just 1:15 later, Castonguay scored unassisted for a 3-0 edge.

“We had 11 corners in the first half, so it was a little bit frustrating that we didn’t score there,” Evans said. “But when the second half started and Lexy put it in, they started to play like they could play. Some of the goals were pretty sweet.”

“It is a lot of extra running, and we have to clean stuff up all over the field,” said Petrie, as her team was out-cornered 20-1 overall. “We are missing a lot of offensive power. We will get better.”

Lisbon had trouble crossing midfield throughout the second half, but finally found some offensive pressure after Phoenix forward Erin McPherson made it a 4-0 contest. The Greyhounds earned their first corner with 4:31 left, and Savannah Czechalski scored unassisted with 1:21 remaining to put Lisbon on the board.

According to Beardsley, a senior, moving back from the KVAC to the MVC made her a bit nervous.

“We were extremely nervous, and to come back to the MVC is a lot of pressure. But we played well and deserved to win today,” Beardsley said.

Petrie said her team will get back to work in preparations for Friday’s road contest at Mountain Valley, looking to avoid a three-goal spurt that doomed the Greyhounds (0-1) on Wednesday.

“We did that the other day in a tournament and hoped it wouldn’t happen again, but hopefully this was a wakeup call,” said Petrie, whose squad was outshot 26-5.

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