TURNER — Leavitt found its footing at halftime and remained undefeated with a 2-0 victory over Freeport in a battle of Class B field hockey contenders on Monday.

The Hornets (9-0) began a big week, and an important stretch, of tough games a little slow. Freeport’s attack was stronger and generated more scoring opportunities in the first half, which ended with the score tied 0-0.

“We needed to regroup second half. I think they needed to refocus on what their jobs were and what the other team looked like, and we just had to settle and play our game,” Leavitt coach Cathy Marston said. “And I think they did that well. I think we looked like two different teams out there.”

The Hornets quickly changed the complexion of the game after halftime.

Izzy Gates took a long cross from Olivea Miller in front of the goal and fired a long shot that somehow made it into the cage to put Leavitt up 1-0 only 2 minutes, 5 seconds into the second half.

“Liv, who is a third-row player, passed it to me, and I almost hit it like a baseball bat. And it went right between the goalie’s legs,” Gates said. “I had no idea it went in, but then I heard it hit the back of the cage, and I was so happy.”


The goal was a manifestation of the Hornets’ second-half improvement and provided a confidence boost against perhaps the toughest team they have faced so far this season.

“I think it pushed us to play even better because we knew that they could come back and get another one, so we had to come back and play even harder to make it so it was 2-0,” Gates said.

The Hornets controlled possession more often in the second half and pushed the ball upfield in various ways — including high-arching lift shots, which Freeport assistant Karin Kurry said the Falcons haven’t seen much of this season. Both teams, however, were strong defensively and shut down most scoring chances before they became serious scoring threats.

Leavitt capitalized on a scoring opportunity with about seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. The ball rolled in front of the cage, and Ainsley Barry got a stick on it and scored.

“It was really quick down there, and our team did a lot of good passing down there, and I was able to grab it and just shoot it in,” Barry said. “It hit the post and, actually, went in.”

Barry is only a freshman, but she already is an important player for the Hornets.


“She’s a rock,” Marston said. “She doesn’t play like a freshman. She plays like a senior because she’s very, very poised, she doesn’t get too frazzled. If she can get an advantage instead of a hit, she will. Whatever benefits the team is what she’s going to do. So, we expect a lot out of that little one.”

Freeport (6-3-1) created another scoring chance with about four minutes to play, but Leavitt goalie Emily Poland stopped a shot by Anna Maschino to keep the Falcons scoreless and the two-goal lead intact.

The Hornets held off the Falcons the rest of the game to secure the win.

“I feel like our coach gives us really good motivation during halftime, and our team comes together and we really push harder,” Barry said. “Because we knew we wanted to beat this team and we were going to give our all to win it.”

She added: “They’ve beaten some good teams. This is one of our hardest teams we’ve played this season, and I’m really proud that we just came together.

Kurry, filling in for head coach Marcia Wood who was ill, said that the Falcons played well, especially considering the heat and that the game was on a grass field — Freeport’s home field is artificial turf.


“Definitely. I’m very happy with how they played, and some kids really stepped up who are in new positions,” Kurry said. “I wish we could — I mean, we were right on the cage, we just couldn’t finish.”

The shutout is the Hornets’ third in a row and seventh of the season. They have only allowed two goals this season and have outscored their opponents 45-2.

The victory moves Leavitt, tied for ninth in the Varsity Maine field hockey poll (Freeport is sixth), up to third in the Class B North Heal point standings. Next on the Hornets’ schedule are Belfast (11-0, No. 4 in the Varsity Maine poll) in Turner on Thursday and at Cony (8-0) on Saturday.

“We know that we have some big games coming up. … This was a pretty big one, too,” Gates said. “Coach is pushing us pretty hard to get us prepared.”

Leavitt then finishes the season at Gardiner (7-3), at MCI (4-4-1) and then against Nokomis (7-1) at home on Oct. 16.

“Huge week,” Marston said. “We have our hands full now. For the rest of the season, we have our hands full. We do. But … like they finished today, if they can just start that every game (that way), I think we’re going to be OK.”

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