Field Hockey: Heacock lifts Bonny Eagle past South Portland in overtime

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SOUTH PORTLAND—Midway through OT on Friday afternoon, Sept. 7, Scot Riley Heacock snatched up the ball near midfield and barreled forward with it; Heacock’s initial charge came up short, but she battled, and battled some more – and finally pounded the game-winning goal past South Portland netminder Abbie Jellison.

The 1-0 result, which played out on the Riots’ home turf at Wainwright Sports Complex, secured Bonny Eagle’s first victory of the autumn.

“What I saw from Riley was her second attempt and third attempt,” Scots head coach Vonde Saunders said. “She lost it the first time, and then she stayed on it, and stayed on it, and stayed on it. That’s how you get that goal, because you get the defense off-guard, flat-footed, or the goalie flat-footed. You take advantage of that on the second and third attempt.”

The uphill action favored the Riots; South Portland even settled into a long offensive stretch midway through the half. The team’s stranglehold on the attack lasted for seven or eight minutes, maybe more, during which time Bonny Eagle struggled just to clear.

Saunders called timeout.

“That timeout worked really well,” Saunders said, asked what needed to change for her girls to throw off South Portland’s pressure. “Getting our girls a rest, and just being able to tell them what I wanted to tell them – because sometimes, on defense, they just can’t hear me.”

“And they did it themselves,” Saunders said. “They composed themselves. They relaxed and they talked to each other and they were like, ‘All right; we’ve got this. Let’s go.’ I think that gave them the extra push to fight hard.”

When the Scots eventually broke the Riots’ deathgrip on the field, play began to ping-pong from end to end; in the second half, things continued in like fashion. Once Bonny Eagle really settled in, it became obvious the teams matched up evenly with one another. “Yeah. It was like 50-50,” Saunders said.

And yet, neither team could get the better of the other – neither team could get the ball behind the other’s goalie and thereby unlock the scoreboard. The game barreled into OT.

Bonny Eagle showed grit, given one last stab at the W: The Scots stepped up their pressure and seized control. “I told them, ‘The harder we run, the faster we score, the faster we can take a break,’” Saunders said, asked what sort of pep talk she delivered her girls before dispatching them into the sudden-death fray. “I said, ‘Just do all you can in this first 30 seconds, and score.’ It took more than 30 seconds, but they did it.”

They did it when Heacock picked up a clearing pass around midfield.

“I think Emma Burnham passed it up to me,” Heacock said, asked to describe the goal, “and then I was just running so fast; I really wanted to get a goal. When I saw the (South Portland) girls next to me, I pulled, because I didn’t see anybody else to the side of me.”

“I just kept running, and it hit, like, two girls’ feet in front of me,” Heacock said. “And I didn’t want to stop and get the call and then take it, so I just took it anyway. And then I saw the goalie in the corner, and I was in the corner, and like Vonde always says, ‘Go to the corners,’ so I hit it to the corner and it went in.”

“All of them,” Saunders said, asked who played well besides Haecock. “They’re all great. Mya (Daniels) had a great game; both Emmas had a great game, Emma Steinbuchel and Emma Burnham, Sam (Averill) – they all did. They all played great.”

Splitting time in-net for the Scots, Chloe Owen and Lily O’Connor combined for six saves and the shutout.

Saunders is new to Bonny Eagle. She’s adjusting nicely, and the program is running smoothly. “The girls have been so helpful,” she said. “The JV coach has been so helpful; they AD has been so helpful. Just guiding me along, telling me tips, things I should be doing, things I shouldn’t be doing.” They’re making it so easy – because they’re awesome.”

Kevin Fahey coaches the JV Lady Scots; Eric Curtis is the Bonny Eagle Athletics Director.

The Scots, now 1-2, travel to Gorham on Sept. 11. Heacock’s goal was actually the Scots’ first of the season; they kicked off their autumn with a 2-0 loss to Kennebunk and followed it up with a 7-0 loss to Biddeford.

South Portland, now 0-3, drops in on Windham on Tuesday as well. The Riots opened their season with one-goal losses to both Scarborough (2-1) and Noble (3-2).

Adam Birt can be reached at abirt@keepmecurrent.com. Follow him on Twitter: @CurrentSportsME.

The Scots celebrate their first win of the season, an overtime defeat of South Portland.

Scot Sam Averill skirts an incoming South Portland opponent.

Arianna Mejias drives forward on the attack for Bonny Eagle.

Riley Heacock blasts an initial shot toward SoPo keeper Abbie Jellison on Heacock’s game-winning charge during OT.

Scot Emma Burnham fires a pass away in her team’s winning battle with South Portland on Friday.

Sage Drinkwater carries for the Scots.

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