WESTBROOK—Five different Blazes – led by Avery Tucker with a hat trick – posted goals vs. visiting Bonny Eagle in a playoffs prelim on Saturday afternoon, Oct. 14. The Scots found themselves simply overmatched against Westbrook, ultimately falling 8-0 and exiting the tournament.
“We knew [Westbrook’s] not a normal No. 6 seed,” said Bonny Eagle head coach Noelle Surette. “The SMAA is a very well-rounded conference, top to bottom. We knew they were a physical team; they pass the ball very well; they keep it spread out. So our goal was basically to try and control opportunities that we had, offensively. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen for us today. And we struggled a little bit, marking in the circle, where we knew we needed to take care of business.”
“We beat Bonny Eagle during the regular season,” Westbrook co-head-coach Theresa Hendrix said. “But that didn’t mean anything for what team we were going to play today. So we made sure the girls were ready; they knew they had to come out right away. We worked a lot in practice on playing as a team, and they did that right from the get-go. So we’re really proud of them.”
Hendrix remarked on Tucker’s big day. “Avery’s always dangerous with the ball, no matter where she is on the field. We look to hopefully get the ball to her, in the circle, because we believe that she’s going to produce for us – and she did exactly that.”
Jaclyn Hazlewood kicked off the Blazes’ roll with a goal roughly ten minutes in; from there, her girls only picked up steam. Eight minutes later, Tucker, assisted by Maddison LeBeau, hashed her first of the day and made it 2-0. Barely 80 seconds after that, Tucker struck again, this time capping a corner with another notch past Scots keeper Sydney Owen.
“We were fortunate to get in subs today,” said Hendrix, asked if her girls maintained a high level of play for all 60 minutes. “So girls were fresh throughout the entire game. We know that, though, going into the next game, it’s those few-minute lulls that can’t happen, especially against good, top teams.”
At 3-0, Surette called timeout; her girls, however, would find themselves unable to regroup against a superb Westbrook outfit. The Blazes – this time, Mary Keef did the honors, assisted by Tucker – scored again with 8:03 to play before the break. They scored once more, Hazlewood tallying her of the day, with 5:14 to go.
“With a lot of teams in the Conference,” Surette said, “they have one or two scorers. Westbrook seems to have five or six girls who really know how to find the back of the net, and that makes it challenging for us, because it’s not one or two kids we have to watch out for; we can’t leave any kid open around the goal. That’s where Westbrook is going to have an edge on teams in the playoffs, is that they’ve got so many kids that can create for them.”
“We’re lucky enough to have seven, eight talented forwards that can get the job done for us,” Hendrix said. “I think that’s one of the things that does make us a challenge for other teams. You can’t just mark up on one girl, because it could be anybody, any day.”
Morgan LeBeau, another a serious threat inside, fired across to assist Katelyn Champagne on the Blazes’ first strike of the downhill half at 20:42. Five and a half minutes later, Abigail Symbol fed Tucker, who proceeded to complete her hat trick. Finally, with 12:12 remaining, Morgan LeBeau dealt the 8-0 blow, capitalizing from just off Owen’s right post following another corner.
Surette took a moment to praise one of her girls in particular: “Mya Daniels, who plays defense, has kind of been the lock-down kid all year,” she said.
Hendrix likewise applauded one of her girls – beyond Tucker, that is. “Maddison LeBeau, one of our senior midfielders,” Hendrix said, “she had a standout game. Just always in control, always distributing to her teammates.”
“God, I can’t even point out one or two names right now,” Hendrix said, “because they all just played so well, and so well together.”
Westbrook jumps to 11-4 in 2017. The Blazes, who entered the bracketing seeded sixth in A South – just in front of Thornton (9-5) and just behind Kennebunk (10-4) – move on to face No. 3 Cheverus (11-3) in the quarterfinals. That game is slated for Wednesday afternoon.
Bonny Eagle, meanwhile, retires till 2018 at 5-9-1. The Scots finished the regular season ranked 11th, a slot ahead of Gorham (6-8) and a slot back from Sanford (6-8).
“We start three freshmen and three sophomores,” Surette said, “so there’s a really good future there, as far as something to work on over the winter.”
Adam Birt can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @CurrentSportsME.
Mya Daniels shovels the ball ahead for Bonny Eagle at Westbrook on Saturday.
Bonny Eagler Emma Steinbuchel and Westbrooker Katelyn Champagne clash.
Olivia Napolitano controls for Bonny Eagle in their prelims loss to Westbrook.
Alexis Witham of Westbrook and Amelia Alexander of Bonny Eagle go shoulder to shoulder.
Abigail Symbol saw good field time for Westbrook in their big playoffs win over Bonny Eagle on Saturday.