Ava Gagnon of Leavitt Area High School fires a shot on Maranacook goalkeeper Alyssa Pratt during a game earlier this season in Turner. Pratt made the save. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

In 2019, Leavitt played Freeport in a Class B South quarterfinal. The Hornets lost, but coach Wanda Ward-MacLean was happy with the experience it provided.

The players from the 2019 team that are still on this year’s squad have been able to use that experience to their advantage.

“When these seniors were sophomores, we played in a quarterfinal against Freeport, and they were really good,” Ward-MacLean said. “The kids learned that there are really good teams we don’t play in the regular season, and it was good that they’re able to share that with the other kids.”

The fifth-seeded Hornets (14-3) have 11 seniors, along with two freshman and one sophomore starters, and are experiencing winning this postseason. They have advanced to Wednesday’s Class B South, in which they will face No. 2 Cape Elizabeth (13-2-1) at 3 p.m. at Freeport High School.

“The kids are really excited,” Ward-MacLean said. “It’s been a long time since we played this late. They’re very excited.”

Leavitt defeated top-seeded York 2-1 on Monday to advance to the regional final.

Ward-MacLean that Leavitt in recent years has not making it far in the playoffs, often losing in the quarterfinals, so she’s preached to the players focusing on each individual game.

“We really work on making sure we worry about the game in hand and not be overconfident,” Ward-MacLean said. “Have confidence, but don’t think you’re going to win by showing up. Cape being No. 2, it’s not going to be easy and the kids realize that. They’ve got to play well to get it done.”

In the preseason, Ward-McLean and the Hornets talked about how far the team could advance in the playoffs this year.

“We talked a little bit about it in the preseason, because we have a lot of seniors,” Ward-MacLean said. “Depending on how the season went, we could go far. We wanted to do well in the tournament. We started off 1-1 and lost an OT game to Lewiston, and won a bunch of games on the road and the kids got excited.”

Freshmen Maddie Morin (forward) and Addie Twitchell (defense) have been important to the team’s success, as have senior midfielders Eve Martineau and Keriah Marston.

“Eve has done a lot for us, and Keriah scored for us Monday,” Ward-MacLean said. “It’s not just offense or defense, and it’s not just one player. We have a lot of players that score.”

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