Mountain Valley’s Rylee Sevigy and Spruce Mountain’s Auri Armandi battle for control of the ball during Friday afternoon’s field hockey game at Spruce Mountain.

JAY — The No. 2-seeded Spruce Mountain Phoenix wanted to use their wings to exploit sixth-seeded Mountain Valley’s defense.

Mission accomplished.

The Phoenix outran the Falcons around the edge and held upset-minded Mountain Valley to a single goal in a 3-1 win in the team’s Class C South semifinal on Friday.

“We wanted to try to make it a running game and try to stay to the outside,” Spruce Mountain co-coach Julia Parker said. “We tried not to get it caught in the middle, but it got caught quite a bit. If we get it to the outside then we have some fast girls. The girls like to run and we have a lot of speed out there.”

At the beginning of the game, Mountain Valley came out fast, not getting any shots but holding a good amount of the possession for the first eight minutes of play. It took a few minutes for Spruce to get their offense into gear, but soon their speed was on display.

With about sixteen minutes remaining in the first half, Spruce had a couple of shots in front of the goal that contributed to their eight first-half shots. Two minutes later, after a scrum in the middle, Morgan Dalton was the last to put her stick on the ball and slid it past Falcons goalkeeper Alyssa Akers for the first goal of the game.

After the first goal, the Phoenix smelled blood. Spruce’s offense didn’t let up, and three minutes later, the ball was moved in front of goal to Emily Castonguay. Castonguay tipped a pass to the right onto Erin McPherson’s stick who slotted in the Phoenix’s second goal.

“We went in knowing it was going to be a tough game so we knew we had to be strong the whole time,” Castonguay said. “We knew it was going to be a tough game, but we knew we could pull it off if we worked hard.”

Mountain Valley didn’t lay down. With six minutes remaining in the half, the Falcons pushed the ball up and got a shot on net, but Spruce goalkeeper Sydney Shaffer was there for one of her two saves on the night. However, officials awarded a penalty stroke.

Rylee Sevigny stepped up for Mountain Valley and ripped a goal top-shelf past the outstretched stick of Shaffer for a goal to make it 2-1 before half. Spruce co-coach Jane DiPompo knew what her team had to do to secure the victory.

“I told them go meet the ball don’t let the ball come to you,” DiPompo said. “Win the little foot battles and keep the ball to the wings, that’s our strength.”

The second half played out like a different game. While Spruce was able to put up eight shots in the first half, the Phoenix were held to just three shots in the second.

In the middle part of the second half, Mountain Valley missed on a couple of opportunities while the deficit was still just one goal.

The dagger came for the Falcons with seven minutes remaining when senior Alexis Beardsley passed the ball from the top of the circle down to Castonguay, who was to the right of the goal. Castonguay fired it home for her second goal.

“We have eight seniors and those seniors want to keep playing,” DiPompo said. “I think those seniors, they bond, and they bond the team together. We wanted to come with a whole 22 players on this team playing and make them go to their bench.”

Spruce Mountain will take on No. 1 St. Dom’s, which won 3-0 on Friday over No. 4 Dirigo, on Tuesday in the Class C South regional final at Thornton Academy.

Spruce Mountain’s Avery Williams reaches a stick towards the ball as Mountain Valley’s Rylee Sevigy controls the ball during Friday afternoon’s field hockey game at Spruce Mountain.

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