LEWISTON — The first imperative for the Freeport High field hockey team was to score early. The second was to survive.

The Falcons did both Saturday.

Emily Groves and Sophie Bradford scored, and Freeport survived an onslaught of second-half corners to win its first state title with a 2-0 victory over Cony in the Class B championship game at Lewiston High’s Don Roux Field.

At the final buzzer, Freeport players raced onto the field to start the celebration they never got to enjoy last year, when they lost to Lawrence in the final, 1-0.

“It’s amazing. It’s a feeling I’ve never experienced before,” said Groves, a sophomore forward. “I don’t have words to describe this feeling. I’m so happy.”

As the players celebrated, an emotional Marcia Wood, in her 11th season as the Falcons’ coach, fell into a crouch with her hands to her face.

Advertisement

“I am in shock,” Wood said. “I am so proud of these girls for their grit and their resilience. I’m at a loss for words, really. We knew it was going to be so tough.”

And it was. Freeport led 2-0 at halftime but had to hang on for dear life in the second half as Cony ramped up the pressure and produced 18 of its 23 corners overall – eight in the third quarter, 10 in the fourth.

“It’s really tough to dominate possession and not be able to score,” Cony Coach Holly Daigle said. “Not for lack of effort. We made adjustments for the second half. They played hard, they did a lot of things really well, but it was tough to not be able to take back that first half.”

Cony also came out strong at the start of the game, with three corners in the first five minutes, but Freeport accomplished its mission of scoring first. On the Falcons’ second corner, Reed Proscia took the insert and passed over to Liza Flower, who hit a bouncing shot toward the goal. Groves was able to get a stick on the ball in mid-air and knock it into the net with 5:17 to go in the first quarter.

“Last year, we struggled to get the ball in the net,” Groves said. “Coming out and getting it (early) felt really good, it gave us our drive.”

Wood stressed that point to her team before the game.

Advertisement

“I’ve been challenging them to score in the first period these last few games,” she said. “It gives you a little cushion, it gives us a little confidence.”

Freeport went up 2-0 after Flower just missed connecting with Groves in front of the net. Cony’s Daigle tried to call timeout, but it wasn’t granted, and seconds later, Bradford scored by tipping in a Groves shot off a Proscia feed with 3:12 left in the half.

Daigle afterward said her call for timeout wasn’t heard.

“We weren’t able to get the timeout when we wanted it,” she said. “It was (tough to bounce back from). It wasn’t for lack of trying. We created a ton of opportunities.”

Indeed, Cony went all-out to try to chip away at the deficit. The Rams got one corner try after another, but a Freeport defense led by Lizalyn Boudreau and Sydney Gelhar broke up possession after possession and knocked down shot after shot from Maci Freeman, Caroline Hendrickson and Abby Morrill.

“It was pretty stressful. We just kept to the grind,” Boudreau said. “We did a really good job of keeping each other motivated.”

Advertisement

Wood had a feeling the Cony push was coming.

“That last period, I said ‘You are playing defense. We are playing straight defense,'” she said. “‘Everyone’s playing defense. If you’re offense, you’re defense. Everyone’s defense, defense, defense.'”

It worked. And the Falcons were rewarded by making history.

“I’m so incredibly happy, especially to share this moment with all of my teammates,” Boudreau said. “It’s incredible. I’m glad we could do it.”

Comments are no longer available on this story