St. Dom’s Caroline Johnson and Dirigo’s Page Lueders chase down the ball during the Class C South field hockey semifinal at St. Dominic Academy on Friday.

AUBURN — Throughout the first half, St. Dom’s coach Brian Kay kept telling his players they needed to score.

That’s nothing new — Kay has pushed his team to score early and often all season. It helps them gain control of the contest.

Friday, it was Caroline Johnson who obliged, netting two goals as the Saints defeated No. 4 Dirigo 3-0 in their Class C South regional semifinal contest.

“I got great passes from my teammates,” Johnson said. “I really looked up and shot and hoped for the best basically. I think we had a good game together (as a team).”

The No. 1-seeded Saints (16-0) will now face Spruce Mountain at Thornton Academy on Tuesday for the right to go to the state championship next Saturday. Spruce Mountain defeated Mountain Valley, 3-1.

Dirigo coach Gretchen Curtis said she was frustrated with the lack of calls going in her team’s direction.

“They are a really skilled team, I am not going to take that away from them,” Curtis said. “But I would take (my) team over them any day for the way they played. Off the ball, my kids got elbows to the face, sticks to the shins, tripped and pushed … There’s not one coach in the MVC that wants to see that team win because of that. That’s too bad, because they have a lot of talented players.”

The Saints started quickly, when Callie Samson found Paige Cote 1:42 into the game for a 1-0 lead.

St. Dom’s kept the pressure on for the majority of the first half, earning seven penalty corners in the first 13 minutes, but Dirigo goaltender Morgan Morrow stood tall. The Saints added seven more in the first half and 27 corners for the game.

They were only able to convert on one, when Johnson made it 2-0 with 12:10 remaining in the half.

Going into championship week, Kay knows his team can clean up the lack of finish on the corners.

“We are going to be practicing that tomorrow,” Kay said. “We’ve got practice 8-10 (Saturday) morning. We will be working on corners, it will be different on turf.

Just like their regional quarterfinal game on Tuesday against Lisbon, the Saints scored in the final minute of the opening half. Cote recorded her second point of the game when she set up Johnson’s second goal with 39 seconds left.

“I think once we spread out and our passes were a lot better,” Johnson said. “We really capitalized on our goals. We really focused on our shooting and doing our best.”

Morrow was able to shut the door down in the second half, making six of her 12 saves.

“Their goalie was really good, the long shots she made some really great saves,” Kay said. “I told (my girls) at the half you have to get the rebound and put the ball in the net. We were up 3-0 in the second half, we wanted more ball control and play our game. Hopefully we can win, but 3-0 is a good first half.”

Abby Slonina had a far easier night defending the Saints’ cage. She saw no shots on the afternoon as the Cougars (10-6) struggled to get inside the 25-yard circle all game long.

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Paige Cote of St. Dom’s and Alyssa McTyre of Dirigo vie for the ball as Dirigo’s Alexa Varnum closes in on the play.Dirigo goalkeeper Morgan Morrow defense a shot by St. Dom’s.St. Dom’s Paige Cote heads upfield as Dirigo’s Ashley Walker gives chase during the Class C South field hockey game at St. Dominic Academy.St. Dom’s Bailey Derocher passes against Dirigo’s Kailey Hackett during Friday’s Class C South regional semifinal at St. Dominic Academy.Dirigo’s Alexa Varnum, goalkeeper Morgan Morrow, Ashley Walker, Alexa Perreault and Grace Timberlake, far right, get ready to defend a St. Dom’s penalty corner.St. Dom’s Hannah Trottier-Braun (8) tracks down ahead of Dirigo’s Alyssa McTyre and St. Dom’s Paige Cote, back.

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