Hall-Dale goaltender Jade Graham (99) offers a few tips to her teammates during a timeout in Tuesday’s Class C South field hockey quarterfinal game against Oak Hill in Farmingdale. Dave Bailey/Kennebec Journal

FARMINGDALE — There are head coaches, there are assistant coaches and then there are unofficial coaches on the field.

Count Hall-Dale goaltender Jade Graham in the third category.

Graham made 10 saves — five in a furious second period — as the third-seeded Bulldogs shut out No. 6 Oak Hill 2-0 on Tuesday in a Class C South field hockey quarterfinal at Hall-Dale High School.

Torrie Tibbetts and Makayla Norton scored for Hall-Dale (9-5-1), which will face the winner of Tuesday’s late game between No. 2 Winthrop and No. 7 Lisbon in Saturday’s semifinals.

When not kicking away shots, Graham, a junior captain, could be seen cajoling and advising her teammates during timeouts. As a goalie, she can see the action unfold in front of her and offer a unique perspective to the Bulldogs.

“Jade is, more times than not, the glue that holds our team together,” Hall-Dale coach Amber Estes said. “She’s a voice; the girls listen, they hear her. They listen; they care. Her role on the team is definitely crucial, and we’d probably be lost without her, for sure.”


Graham was at her busiest in the second quarter, when Hall-Dale led 1-0 but had to fend off a furious Oak Hill rally. Among her top stops in the period was a kick-save against Madalyn Sikora and two more kick-saves in quick succession.

Graham also had some help in the second: A shot by the Raiders’ Izzy Whitaker almost entered the cage, but Bulldog defender Grace Leech was there to swat it away.

“Today definitely wasn’t my greatest game, but I’m definitely glad my teammates stepped up and scored the goals,” Graham said. “It was a little scary when the attacks started coming, but I think we handled it pretty well.”

The team also seemed to handle Graham’s input pretty well.

“Our team, they definitely react to different kinds of coaching in different ways, and I think we needed a different voice today,” Graham said. “I think it’s different coming from a teammate than a coach.”

Whitaker was a thorn in Hall-Dale’s side all afternoon, whether it was stopping the ball, starting an attack or, in one case, taking the ball up the right sideline singlehandedly in the second to set up Sikora’s shot.


“She’s a phenomenal player,” Oak Hill coach Lexi Fuller said. “She works hard every day at practice, she works hard every day in the game. She’s there to build her teammates up all the time. I think she leads by example. Once you start seeing her get back and play defense, you see a lot of our other girls follow through.”

Oak Hill coach Lexi Fuller talks to her team during a timeout in Tuesday’s Class C South field hockey quarterfinal game against Hall-Dale in Farmingdale. Dave Bailey/Kennebec Journal

Hall-Dale opened the scoring 4:52 into the game, when Tibbetts’ shot trickled in past Oak Hill goalie Sierra Lane (eight saves, five in the first quarter) following a penalty corner by teammate Delanie MacDonald.

From there, Oak Hill (5-8-2) poured on the pressure, out-shooting Hall-Dale 7-2 in the second and third periods, but Graham and the Bulldog defense were up to the challenge.

After each team made a shot just wide of the opposing cage in the fourth, Hall-Dale finally got some breathing room when Ashlynn Donahue recovered the ball from a scramble and fed it to Norton, who poked the ball past Lane with 5:39 left in the game.

“My team, they tend to play that second half better than the first; I call them my ‘second-half team,'” Estes said with a smile. “It’s kind of like a running joke.”

Hall-Dale earned a bit of revenge with Tuesday’s win; the Bulldogs lost 3-0 to the Raiders in last year’s quarterfinal in Lewiston.

Oak Hill, meanwhile, has plenty of reason to be optimistic for next season. The Raiders made the playoffs despite a youthful roster comprised mostly of freshmen and sophomores — seven players from each class.

“We had a great season for what we are. We have only two seniors, we have only two juniors,” Fuller said. “The freshmen and sophomores are our leaders.

“It’s a building year, so I thought for them to make it to the playoffs, that was a big accomplishment.”

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