OAKLAND — It’s on to the regional finals for the Maine Central Institute field hockey team.

The Huskies cruised to a 3-0 victory over Mountain Valley in a Class C North semifinal game Saturday morning at Veterans Field. MCI (14-1-0), the No. 1 seed, will play No. 2 Foxcroft Academy in the Class C North final Wednesday. For MCI, it’s the first trip back to a regional final since 2017, when the Huskies were a Class B program. MCI beat York 5-0 for the Class B title that year.

“It’s so awesome,” said MCI’s Gracie Moore, who had a goal during Saturday’s game. “It’s very relieving. We’ve worked for this so much.”

“These girls have worked really hard,” MCI head coach Nancy Hughes said. “The seniors weren’t part of that last group that had such a good run. We’ve built back up. But they know the legacy before them, and they want to be there. They want to do the things those girls before them did.”

No. 5 Mountain Valley finishes at 13-3-1.

The Huskies kept the offensive pressure on early and often, outshooting the Falcons by a 26-1 margin. MCI also had a 7-2 advantage in penalty corners.

“We had no idea what to expect,” Moore said. “We were just going to come in and play our hardest, play our game, because that’s the way we like to play.”

MCI notched its first goal with 4:21 remaining in the first quarter, when Moore maneuvered in front of the goal and slipped a shot past Mountain Valley goalie Brooke Brown for a 1-0 lead. Alivia Ward added a goal for the Huskies on a hard shot from about 10 yards out that gave MCI a 2-0 lead entering halftime.

Both teams remained scoreless in the third quarter, but the Huskies kicked their game into another gear in the fourth, outshooting the Falcons 10-0, with a 3-0 advantage on corners. With two minutes remaining, Ella Bernier knocked in a shot in a scrum in front of the Mountain Valley goal for the final 3-0 score.

“We try to focus on what we’re doing, instead of what the other team is doing,” Hughes said. “We didn’t know really anything about (Mountain Valley). But we just always stress to play our game, to set the tempo. We have very skilled players, and we like to use passing with a purpose, instead of just driving the ball up the field, hoping that someone will be there. Our passes have to be very intentional, and our girls have worked very hard this year to be in the right place to receive.”

MCI now has 92 goals in 15 games this season, averaging more than six goals per game.

“I think a big part is our passing,” Moore said. “Just working together and keeping the communication up, putting it in the goal at the end.”

Though Mountain Valley was on the defensive throughout the game, the Falcons stayed in it thanks to the play of Brown, who made several key saves throughout the contest.

“First-time varsity goalie,” Mountain Valley head coach Melissa Forbes said. “She played (junior varsity) last year, and she stepped up into the role. We talked at halftime, desperate times, desperate measures, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do down there. And we don’t play on turf. It’s not normally a type of game we would play, but we were just trying to get it out of the backfield to release some pressure.”


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