ORONO — Senior Kallie Aldus has been a valuable utility player for the University of Maine’s field hockey team, coming off the bench to supply coach Josette Babineau with quality minutes in a number of different positions.
But the former Belfast High School star and Miss Maine Field Hockey took center stage on Thursday afternoon, scoring with 12 seconds remaining to give the Black Bears a 2-1 victory over the University of Michigan in the blistering heat.
Her second career goal was set up by Stephanie Gardiner, who worked the ball neatly along the extended goal line to the left of Michigan goalie Christi Barwick before centering it.
“I just kept my composure along the line an fed it into the goalie and Kallie got it off the rebound,” said Gardiner. “Kallie’s always in great position. She had composure on the ball and finished strong.”
“The goalie made the first save and I just flipped it between her and the near post,” said Aldus who called the goal the most important one of her life.
Barwick said her job in that situation is to “try and dive across [to the center of the cage] and intercept the ball, which I did,
“I got it with my stick but it deflected to [Aldus] and she put it in near post. It was kind of a blur. It was a very quick play,” said Barwick.
“Kallie played very well. We needed her legs [on the hot day] and she came through,” said Babineau.
Maine is now 2-1 while Michigan fell to 0-3.
Both teams had glorious scoring chances over the final 10 minutes but Barwick and Maine junior goalie Brittany Fleck turned in some exemplary stops.
Barwick robbed Jocelyn Mitchell with five minutes left off a two-on-one as she scrambled across to reject Mitchell with her stick after Kelly Newton had fed it across to her. Mitchell appeared to have a half-empty net but Barwick was lightning-quick getting across.
Fleck came up with a gem a few minutes later when a hard diagonal pass was deflected toward the net by Paige Laytos and she got her pads on it.
Just prior to the Barwick save off Mitchell, Fleck dove out to get her blocker on a blast by Meredith Way off a penalty corner.
“We practice that an hour a day,” said Fleck. “It looks harder than it is.”
Michigan’s Alicia Mayer and Maine’s Newton swapped second-half goals with well-crafted individual efforts in the evenly–played game.
Mayer stickhandled cleverly past a few Bears in the circle before lifting the ball over Fleck into the top half of the net 3:54 into the second half.
“That was a good effort,” said Fleck.
Newton equalized 10:12 later when she took a pass from Gardiner in the right side of the circle, touched the ball around a few defenders while cutting across the circle and tucked it inside the far post in a one-on-one with Barwick.
“I snuck it by her,” said Newton.
“That goal was phenomenal. What a great touch!” said Babineau.
Both goalies finished with six saves including several gems.
Michigan had 13 shot attempts to Maine’s 10.
The game pitted former Skowhegan High School teammates Courtney Veinotte of Maine and Zara Saydjari of Michigan against each other.