AUGUSTA — The Leavitt Hornets, once again, didn’t give their opponent an inch. This time, in the biggest game of the season.

Leavitt allowed only three shots on goal and shut out Old Town 1-0 win to claim the Class B field hockey state championship Saturday at Cony High School.

The state title is Leavitt’s fourth, and first since 2012. The Hornets also won championships in 1994 and 1996.

“We are state champions. It’s awesome. I am so proud of my teammates,” said Hornets senior forward Ava Gagnon, who added that the upperclassmen have been dreaming of winning a state championship since they were middle schoolers.

The Hornets (16-3) entered the Class B playoffs as the No. 5 team in the South region. After knocking out No. 12 Lincoln Academy, the Hornets defeated No. 4 Fryeburg, No. 1 York, and No. 2 Cape Elizabeth to reach the state title game.

“York was amazing for us, it was our best game all year,” Eve Martineau said. “Cape, we all know we didn’t play our best, but we still came out with the win. Today, we really pushed hard.”

The Hornets’ journey to a state championship wasn’t always smooth, but reaching the final destination is, yes, “awesome.”

It’s been a journey before the playoffs started.

“It feels awesome, it really does,” Leavitt’s longtime coach, Wanda Ward-MacLean, said. “The kids have worked really hard for this, and we fought through some adversity through COVID (during the regular season). It’s awesome to bring home that gold.”

As they did in Wednesday’s B South final, the Hornets broke a scoreless tie in the third quarter. Eve Martineau received the pass on a Leavitt penalty corner and shot the ball towards goal. Coyotes goalie Chelsey Cote (four saves) made the initial save, but Gagnon got her stick on the ball at put it in the cage for a 1-0 lead with 6:50 remaining in the quarter.

Gagnon said that she tried to keep things simple amid the mayhem that was taking place inside the circle.

“I was nervous, but I knew I had confidence; if I just got my stick down, it would go in,” Gagnon said.

MacLean said Gagnon played well the entire game.

“Ava has done very well for us, and she was on point today,” Ward-MacLean said. “She was touching everything, which was awesome.”

Leavitt had two more corners in the third, but didn’t capitalize on them. The Hornets, though, weren’t too concerned about not converting them.

“(Old Town) came out hard (in the third quarter), but we needed to come out harder,” Martineau said. “We want it in the last 30 minutes, win or lose. Once we got that goal, that really got our momentum going.”

The Coyotes (14-4), who were the second seed in B North, controlled the play early in the fourth quarter but only managed one shot on goal.

In the final seven minutes of the game, the Hornets put on a master class in ball possession by keeping the ball on their offensive side of the field until the final buzzer.

“Once we got halfway through (the fourth) quarter, we were like, possession, possession is the name of the game,” Ward-MacLean said. “We really worked hard to keep control and get up the field and get sticks on (the ball).”

Another key for the Hornets on Saturday was their depth, which they took advantage with several substitutions throughout the game. Old Town, meanwhile, didn’t make one substitution the entire game.

Ward-MacLean said that using the bench players as often as possible was going to be important for the Hornets.

“(Subbing) makes a big difference,” Ward-MacLean said. “The emotions of the day are high, that drain you and playing hard (tires the kids out). We had some kids who didn’t come out at all, but we subbed some kids and that gave us some fresh legs.”

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