DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — The Foxcroft Academy field hockey team got off to a mediocre start this fall — with three consecutive losses contributing to a 2-3 start.
But the Ponies are anything but mediocre these days, their 11th consecutive victory since then coming Wednesday with a 4-1 victory over Orono in an Eastern Maine Class C semifinal.
“I think it was a big wakeup call to lose three games in a row,” said Mariah Arno, one of 10 seniors on the Foxcroft roster, many of whom were key contributors to the Ponies’ 2007 state championship effort. “We went into the season feeling like we were the team to beat, and having those three losses really helped us come together as a team.
“If we had won all those games I don’t think we’d be as good a team as we are right now.”
Third-seeded Foxcroft will play in Saturday’s regional final at the Weatherbee Complex in Hampden against top-ranked Dexter, a 2-1 double-overtime winner over No. 4 Stearns of Millinocket in the other semifinal. Foxcroft and Dexter split two 1-0 decisions during the regular season.
Seventh-ranked Orono, which upset No. 2 Winthrop in the quarterfinals, ends its season at 7-8-1.
“I’m pretty happy with how we played today,” said Orono coach Dodi Saucier. “We played a team that was much faster than us, but for most of the game we did what we needed to do.”
Senior Kelsey Boss paced Foxcroft’s offense with two goals, while Arno had a goal and two assists and Sabrina Sharrow contributed a goal and an assist. Jen Seavey also had an assist to help Foxcroft defeat Orono for the second time this season.
Orono maintained a territorial edge in the early stages of the first half, but gradually Foxcroft took control, with Sharrow and Boss scoring before intermission to give the Ponies a 2-0 lead.
Sharrow scored off a penalty corner with 12:58 left in the half. She started the play by passing the ball out, then waited near the left goal post until Arno fed her a pass from the right side to re-direct into the cage.
Boss made it 2-0 with 6:33 left on a sharp-angled shot from just to the right of the cage after taking a feed from Arno.
“It was right on the end line, and I’m just the kind of person who likes to drive the ball really hard into the goal,” said Boss. “I like hearing it bang, so I just drove it and the goalie wasn’t ready and it went right in behind her.”
Foxcroft’s momentum nearly vanished within the first 1:15 of the second half, as Orono’s Audrey Landis scored an unassisted goal off a penalty corner to suddenly pull the Red Riots within 2-1.
“That was a tough awakening for us,” said Sharrow. “But coach [Gene Philpot] called time out, which was good to get us ready for the rest of the game, and we came out strong after that.”
Boss scored again five minutes later off a penalty corner to restore Foxcroft to a two-goal lead. Sharrow passed the ball out to Seavey in the center of the circle, and Seavey settled the ball so Boss could blast another loud shot, this time to the right of Orono goalie Amber Saucier.
Arno added an insurance goal for the Ponies with 59 seconds remaining off an assist from Sharrow.
Cassie Curtis earned the win in goal with four saves on five shots. Amber Saucier made nine saves on 13 shots for Orono.