ORONO, Maine — Colgate University field hockey coach Cathy Foto paid the University of Maine Black Bears the ultimate compliment following a 7-1 Maine triumph over her youthful Red Raiders Sunday afternoon that gave Maine the Black Bear Invitational Tournament title.
“That’s the best Maine team I’ve ever seen,” said Foto, who is in her 21st season at Colgate and whose Raiders beat Maine 2-1 last year. “They’re organized, they’re poised, they never get flustered. They’re able to defend well, they get the ball out [of the defensive third], they get numbers in their attack, they counter and they’re very aggressive. They move to the ball really well.”
Sophomore forward Stephanie Gardiner had two goals and two assists for the 4-1 Black Bears with her former Crofton House School (Vancouver, British Columbia) teammate Kelly Newton also scoring twice. Jocelyn Mitchell, Jackson’s Molly Arute and Orono’s Chelsea Wagner also scored.
Belfast’s Kallie Aldus picked up a pair of assists and Michelle Niedziejko notched one.
Brittany Fleck played the first half in goal for Maine and didn’t face a shot. Courtney Gingrich made two saves on five shots and allowed the Colgate goal in the second half.
Britany Schram scored for 0-5 Colgate off an Erin Leon pass. Sarah Pedersen made nine saves on 27 shots and allowed four goals before being replaced by Kirsten Lalli, who finished with two saves on 11 shots while surrendering three goals.
“We played really well,” said Newton. “It was a good team effort. Everybody contributed.”
Gardiner said Colgate marked Maine effectively early and cluttered up the defensive third but as the game progressed “we started to play more our style of game: passing and spreading out so we able to get open for each other more.”
Newton opened the scoring at the 14:07 mark when she fired home a turnaround shot from the top of the circle off an Aldus feed.
“It was a reverse shot through the goalie’s legs,” said Newton.
Mitchell and Newton expanded the lead to 3-0 with goals 29 seconds apart later in the half.
Mitchell neatly re-directed a Gardiner pass over Pedersen from close range and Newton beat Pedersen to the far side with another turnaround shot, this one off a Gardiner pass.
Arute capped the first-half scoring off a penalty corner as she converted a rebound after a multi-shot flurry.
“I was open on the right side. One shot bounced off the post and another went on the goalie. I put it to the far post,” said Arute.
Gardiner sandwiched her goals around Wagner’s to make it 7-0 in the second half before Schram scored.