BANGOR, Maine — With 14:20 left in Tuesday evening’s field hockey game between Stearns of Millinocket and John Bapst, Minutemen coach Lori Lincoln called a timeout.
Her team was leading 1-0, but Bapst had been knocking on the door with a flurry of shots.
Nine minutes later, with the game tied 1-1, Lincoln called timeout again — to repeat what she said in the previous break.
“They weren’t cutting to the ball, their sticks weren’t down, and they weren’t passing to people nearly as much,” Lincoln said. “I told them that both times, especially the second one.
“When I get ugly, the girls step it up a little bit and if I play it too nice, they don’t.”
Lincoln’s wrathful reminder paid off as Stearns scored with 3:01 to play and edged the Crusaders 2-1 at the Penobscot Job Corps field.
Amanda Kranick got loose for a rush up the middle and took a shot just inside the circle. The shot was stopped by Bapst goalie Megan Smith, but it deflected back to Kranick, who swept it back — this time into the goal.
“She came out and hit it, but she overran it a little and went over that way, so I was able to just push it in there,” Kranick said.
Bapst coach Gina Schuck argued the goal should have been disallowed because the ball was in the air as Kranick entered the circle.
“From my vantage point, their player played the ball up in the air as she was coming into the circle and when you come into the circle, the ball has to be 16 inches or lower,” Schuck explained. “I was expecting it to be a free hit out.”
Stearns scored the first goal of the game when Becca Leavitt scored unassisted off a penalty corner from Adriana Eurich with 16:24 left in the first half.
“We didn’t very well on the first three corners, so we tried a different one and I got a nice, flat, hard pass that was quick to the top, and I hit it into the right side of the goal,” said Leavitt.
The Minutemen took a 1-0 lead into halftime after out-shooting the Crusaders 10-6.
The second half was a complete turnaround, however, as the Crusaders stormed the Stearns side of the field and outshot the Minutemen 9-4 despite losing freshman scorer Emily Tilton to a hand injury after she was hit by the ball 13:28 into the second half.
“We definitely started off slow. They outcut us left and right. They did a great job cutting to the ball,” said Schuck. “But in the second half, our girls rallied because they really wanted to win this game.
“Offensively, she’s one of our best players. She just generates things and makes things happen.”
The 3-5-1 Crusaders also generated a score as Shannon O’Connor put the ball into the goal off a ball that deflected off the foot of a Stearns defender. The shot went to the left side of the goal with 7:25 left.
Goalie Kirsten Marter finished the game with nine saves on 15 shots for the 5-3 Minutemen. Megan Smith came up with 10 saves on 14 shots for the Crusaders.