HERMON — At times, the Stearns Minutemen were bit frustrated Wednesday.
For most of the game, the Minutemen from Millinocket let some quality scoring chances go by the boards, but coach Lori Lincoln’s field hockey club rose up when it mattered most.
Mallory Osborne and Alex Mooney scored less than three minutes apart in the second half as Stearns escaped with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Hermon.
Those two also assisted on each other’s goals in helping the Minutemen improve to 2-1 on the young season while Hermon fell to 0-2.
Mooney, a sophomore, put Stearns ahead for good with 12:54 left in regulation, one-timing a perfect cross from Osborne to the left of Hermon goalkeeper Nicolette Hashey.
“Mallory sent it over to me and I hit it in,” said Mooney.
Osborne had tied it at 1-1 just 2:14 earlier in similar fashion, one-timing a perfect pass from Mooney into the cage.
“I think it was in the middle for a while, it went over to [Mooney], she sent it flat across, I was on my post and just swept it in,” said Osborne.
Even though the Minutemen were dictating play throughout the first half, the Hawks took advantage of their only opportunity, with Miranda Charloux slapping home an Ashley Cyr cross with 11:57 left before halftime.
Stearns’ defense was too stacked up on one side of the field, which left Charloux unmarked in front of the cage and in perfect position to re-direct Cyr’s cross.
“We were all playing bunched together and there was no one on the other side of the goal cage to stop it,” said Osborne.
That seemingly gave the Hawks some momentum, but Stearns pulled things together after halftime and regained control by making crisper passes and attacking the cage more.
“I think we realized how much we wanted it and how much we needed to beat Hermon,” Mooney said.
Osborne added that the Minutemen felt relieved to get out of Hermon with the victory and that Stearns really started playing its game after she tied the match.
“After that first one we were excited and didn’t want to let them have any more, so we just played good defense and went from there,” said Osborne.
The Minutemen’s back line and midfielders controlled play late and didn’t allow Hermon any high-percentage scoring opportunities.
Stearns outshot Hermon 12-3, but the Hawks had a couple of chances to pad their lead early in the second half, but the ball sailed just wide of the cage on both occasions.
“It was close, they played hard the whole game and they really worked to get down here,” said Hermon coach Ann Redman. “Just not our luck today, but [maybe] next time.”
Hashley made several point-blank stops to keep the Hawks in the game, and Redman’s young back line shined as well.
“I couldn’t have asked for more, they did a great job,” said Redman, whose club has seven freshmen.
Hashey finished with eight saves for Hermon while Stearns goalkeeper Kirsten Marter didn’t have to make any stops.