BIDDEFORD—The Blazes fell, 1-0, on the road at the Tigers in Wednesday night, Oct. 24’s A South Regional Final – and they fell in overtime, after a knock-down, drag-out rematch of last year’s contest. Play unfolded as ferocious back-and-forth, with Biddeford ultimately downing Westbrook on a sudden-death strike by sophomore middie Abby Allen.
“I don’t think we played our game against them in the regular season,” Westbrook head coach Theresa Hendrix said. “So we were excited, coming into tonight. Made a few changes in our formation and lineups to really help secure our midfield, and I think our girls did everything that we asked them.”
The sides both logged chances as the game unwound. Biddeford tallied three rapid-fire corners early in the second half, for example, before Westbrook pushed back and generated a near miss: With 20:15 remaining on the clock, Westbrooker Mary Keef – a true danger on the right wing – fired inward; teammate Kaitlyn Talbot, alas, couldn’t quite get her stick on a successful redirect.
“Biddeford’s a team that scores a lot on corners, and our girls shut ‘em down today on corners,” Hendrix said, “so that was one of our goals today and we lived up to that.”
The Tigers picked up yet another close call around 15 minutes, but Westbrook’s standout senior keeper, Kimmie Goddard, turned in a catlike glove or pad save – hard to tell, the action proceeded so quickly. Again the Blazes pushed back, generating a couple corners back-to-back around the 12-minute mark.
In the waning stretch – around two minutes remaining and one minute as well – Biddeford hashed another pair of corners, but Goddard stood strong, diving here and there and completely commanding her area of the field.
“She’s been a contributor ever since her freshman year,” Hendrix said of Goddard. “And in these playoffs, I think these are the best games she’s had. She’s a wall back there; she leaves her heart in that goal.”
The bout tumbled into OT: Biddeford controlled early, keeping Westbrook pinned back on defense and hashing multiple corners. Three and a half minutes in, the Blazes looked poised to break out; Avery Tucker picked up the ball and drove for midfield – but, something strange happened. Tucker appeared to pause and look back over her shoulder, as if she thought she heard a whistle.
But play hadn’t stopped, and the Tigers pounced on the ball; Allen wheeled back into Westbrook’s end, fired on Goddard and beat her. 1-0.
Biddeford will face off with mighty Skowhegan in the State Final on Saturday, Nov. 3. The game will be played at Deering.
Adam Birt can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @CurrentSportsME.
Blazes netminder Kimmie Goddard has been exceptional at that position in recent years.
Avery Tucker is a force to be reckoned with on the field hockey field.
Mary Keef is among the best wingers around.
Katie Champagne curls around on the attack for Westbrook.
The Lady Blazes huddle up with little time remaining in the scoreless game.
Blazes Captains Avery Tucker, Kimmie Goddard and Alexis Witham pose with the team’s new A South Runners-up plaque.