Dirigo’s Ashley Perrault and North Yarmouth Academy’s Alex MarKenish chase the ball down the field during Tuesday’s field hockey game at Dirigo High School.

DIXFIELD — Fueled by its intensity, the Dirigo field hockey team had all the answers Tuesday in the team’s Class C South quarterfinal against North Yarmouth Academy.

The No. 4-seeded Cougars applied pressure from the outset, Sophia Jacques registered a hat trick in the first half and the team’s defense did the rest en route to a 3-0 win over the No. 5 Panthers at Harlow Park.

Dirigo advances to play a semifinal clash against top-ranked St. Doms on Friday in Auburn. NYA finishes its season at 7-8.

The game figured to be a battle between the teams who, while seeded closely, never play one another during the regular season.

Dirigo established its presence early, with Jacques, Kailey Hackett (5) and Grace Timberlake firing shots on goal. The storm was held mostly in check by NYA sophomore goalie Eliza Todd, who recorded 24 saves in the game.

“Our plan coming in was to move the ball on offense and control (play),” Dirigo coach Gretchen Curtis said, alluding to the teams being unfamiliar with each other. “That meant to dodge and move and that’s what we have been doing a lot of in practice. Also, I switched up our lines and put an extra player back and we needed the defense (Ashley Walker, Kaiya Martin, Devon Fletcher and Alexa Perreault) to be strong and set the tone.”

Jacques definitely heeded the message well — all three of her goals materialized by being able to use stick and foot work to cash in. The junior was set up directly inside the circle, dribbled to the right and blasted a shot past Todd, with 11:09 remaining in the first half. Ashley Perreault had initially started the play by carrying the ball down the right side.

“I think it helped us by not knowing any thing about them.” Jacques said. “The (front) line was able to mix things up and score. It allowed us to start strong and our defense prevented North Yarmouth from putting any thing together.”

Dirigo didn’t let up and was awarded a penalty corner and it proved successful. Jacques secured the ball in the circle, dodged Panther defender Hannah Gagne and blasted a shot by Todd for a 2-0 lead.

Even having a goal waved off couldn’t deter Dirigo as Jacques scored unassisted, with 5:12 remaining.

“Communication is key for us out on the field,” Jacques said. “If we are not talking, then we are not winning.”

It was a bitter pill to swallow for North Yarmouth Academy, which had high hopes. The Panthers were unable to get a shot off on Dirigo goalie Morgan Morrow. Cougar midfielders Page Lueders, Alyssa McTyre, Lauren Ferland and Alexa Varnum used strong stick work to thwart the visitors.

“We knew Dirigo would be a strong team,” NYA coach Julia Sterling said. “In the second half, we wanted our girls to go to the ball. My goalie certainly helped with 24 saves.”

Dirigo’s Ashley Perrault and North Yarmouth Academy’s Maya Davis each get a stick on the ball during Tuesday’s field hockey game at Dirigo High School.Dirigo’s Ashley Walker drives the ball down the field as North Yarmouth Academy’s Amber Rose tries to get a stick in during Tuesday’s field hockey game at Dirigo High School.All eyes are on North Yarmouth Academy’s Maya Davis as the ball pops up in front of her during Tuesday’s field hockey game at Dirigo High School. Dirigo’s Ashley Perrault keeps the pace on the right.North Yarmouth Academy’s Amber Rose and Dirigo’s Sophia Jacques battle for control for the ball during Tuesday’s field hockey game at Dirigo High School. North Yarmouth Academy’s Maggie Larson gets a stick in on the right.Dirigo’s Grace Timberlake shoot’s the ball past North Yarmouth Academy’s Amber Rose during Tuesday’s field hockey game at Dirigo High School.Dirigo’s Lauren Ferland keeps control of the ball as North Yarmouth Academy’s Amber Rose keeps up during Tuesday’s field hockey game at Dirigo High School.


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