ROCKLAND, Maine — After a first half in which Belfast peppered Rockland’s goal with 11 shots, the visiting Lions managed just three shots in the second.
The end result was the same, however, as the Lions scored one goal in each half to beat Rockland 2-0 and notch their fifth straight field hockey victory.
“We expected a tough game and we got one, even though they’re a young team,” said Allen Holmes, now in his 36th season as Belfast’s head coach.
Senior Allison Murnane opened the scoring with 28 minutes, 49 seconds left in the first half off a nifty pass from junior Helene Wallace.
“It was a pass from the top and it wasn’t too hard, so I just kind of pushed it in there, nice and easy,” said Murnane.
Junior Crystle Kirby provided an insurance score with 9:02 left in the game, thanks to a feed from senior Ori Downs.
“For most corner plays, we like to try to get it down into the post and then pull up to the top and get another post,” Downs explained. “But I got the ball at the top, brought it down to the side, and just shot it toward the corner, where Crystle poked it in right behind the goalie.”
Belfast sophomore goaltender Paxton Mohney notched the shutout with three saves on seven shots. Emma Hamm relieved her with 5:09 left, but saw no shots.
The Lions weren’t feeling too comfortable with a 1-0 lead midway through the second half, especially after dominating the first half with an 11-3 shots advantage. They felt even more nervous after seeing a rejuvenated Rockland squad kick up their offense and take a 4-0 lead in shots in the second half.
“They wanted to win this game pretty bad, so we knew we’d have to keep our game up to win,” Downs said. “They kept their momentum going pretty well and I think we just kind of played to protect the lead a little too much.”
With only 15 players suited up, one of which wasn’t leading scorer Olivia O’Hara, who was out with the flu, the Tigers were hard pressed to sustain offensive pressure.
“We were pumped because we were only down 1-0 despite them outshooting us so much,” said Tigers coach and former Camden Hills player Joanna Duke. “I told them they needed to start going to the ball and cutting in front of them more often. We did that for awhile, but I think they got worn down.”
That and Holmes noticed a seam in Rockland’s defense on the left side that his girls weren’t exploiting fully. Right after he called timeout to talk to them about it, the Lions made it 2-0 by rushing up the left side.
“Well, that’s what coaching’s all about,” Holmes said with a big smile.
McKyla Follett made nine saves on 14 shots for the 1-6 Rockland Tigers.