NEWPORT, Maine — In the bright lights of the postseason, there’s usually one, or sometimes two heroes who are cast in a big win.
But in Wednesday’s Eastern Maine Class B field hockey semifinal, there were multiple Nokomis Warriors who shined in the spotlight.
Sabrina Vaillancourt scored two first-half goals while the defense got things done in the second half as the second-ranked Warriors earned the right to defend their Eastern Maine crown Saturday with a 2-0 victory over third-seeded Mount View of Thorndike.
Coach Katie Thompson’s club held its own in the second half, and even though Nokomis didn’t attempt a shot in the final 30 minutes, goalkeeper Maria Adams and her defense kept the ball out of the cage to preserve the win.
“Our defense pulled through, and it was nice to have them there for us,” said Vaillancourt.
Nokomis improves to 13-2-1 and will face top-ranked Gardiner for the Eastern Maine title Saturday in Hampden while Mount View wraps up 12-3-1.
After a first half that was dominated by defense, Vaillancourt broke the scoreless tie with 5:30 remaining until intermission, as she swiped home a perfect cross from Marissa Shaw and placed it into the left-hand corner of the cage.
“It just hit my stick and it just went up, it was a great pass from Marissa,” said Vaillancourt.
Vaillancourt scored again four minutes later, this time on a breakaway, accepting a pass from Jordin McGinnis and blowing by a couple of Mustang defenders and once again knocking the ball into the left side of the goal.
“Sabrina steps it up when it matters, we look to her for that and she did it today.” Thompson said. “That was definitely a big help for us.”
The game was a contrast to when the two teams met during the regular season, with Mount View coming out on top 2-1 after jumping on top 2-0 early.
“Last game we played them it was just not our game, we weren’t all there,” Vaillancourt said. “We just broke down in the first half and they just scored right on us.”
Mount View refused to back down, however, attacking the Warriors’ defense after intermission.
The Mustangs couldn’t capitalize on scoring opportunities, including five penalty corners.
“We pounded on their door, we had lots of possibilities,” Mount View coach Gloria Hewett said. “Some games you win, some you don’t, and it’s not because we didn’t play well or didn’t have scoring opportunities, we just didn’t put it in the cage.”
That was mainly thanks to the play of Adams in goal and the defenders in front of her, and Adams knocked away three Mount View shots in a 15-second span in the game’s final three minutes.
“They had multiple opportunities to score, and our defense definitely held the fort,” Thompson said. “Our mids and our forwards were very tired from running back and forth, so our defense, we really relied heavily on them and they did a great job.”
Adams finished with five saves on eight Mount View shots for Nokomis while the Warriors’ defense did a solid job of clearing loose balls out of the circle.
“Maria did a great job today, she comes up with big saves when she needs to when the pressure’s on,” Thompson said.
Becca Knight had two stops on seven shots in the first half for the Mustangs while Amanda Hill didn’t face a shot in the second half.