DOVER-FOXCROFT — Dexter High School junior forward Sarah Eastman admitted that she didn’t want Monday afternoon’s game against Foxcroft Academy to go into overtime.
So she made sure it didn’t.
Eastman scored her 12th goal of the season with just four seconds left in regulation to give the undefeated Tigers a hard-fought 1-0 victory over the Ponies.
“I saw there were 24 seconds left so I told my teammates to hurry up and get it over (into the circle),” said Eastman.
Libby Kain was able to maneuver the ball to a spot just outside the penalty circle and fired it into the middle of the congested circle. It eventually wound up on the stick of Darci Perkins.
“The ball deflected up and hit me (in the midsection). I saw that Sarah was open so I just passed it to her,” said Perkins.
Eastman was stationed to Perkins’ left and took the short pass and flipped it into the far corner past senior goalie Cassie Curtis, who had no chance on the well-placed shot.
“That (far) corner was wide open so I shot for it and I made it,” said Eastman.
Both teams had plenty of scoring chances in the entertaining affair, which was played in a steady drizzle.
Dexter held a slight territorial advantage but Foxcroft was dangerous on the counter-attack with speedy Rachel Keane creating problems for the Dexter defense with her runs down the flank. Gabi Henderson was also a threat on the other flank.
But Dexter goalie Maicee Gustin and her back line, comprised of Hillary and Whitney Mower, Gabby Adam and Jamika Cookson, again keyed the defensive effort as the 11-0 Tigers notched their ninth shutout.
The Class C Tigers had the better chances in the first half but were unable to put their shots on goal and weren’t able to get to the far post for tip-ins.
Keane had a decent opportunity early in the game but Gustin came out aggressively and made a pad save on the short side.
Dexter’s Jordyn Bell had the best chance of the half when Eastman fired the puck across to the far post but Bell’s re-direction rolled wide of the near post.
With just a few minutes remaining in the half, Perkins had a promising shot from the middle of the circle but Amber Anderson stopped it with her stick.
Bell had a glorious chance early in the second half when she accepted a pass and broke through the defense only to be robbed by Curtis, who came off her line and smothered the point-blank shot.
The Class B Ponies, now 8-3 with two of the losses coming at the hands of Dexter, applied some early pressure courtesy of some penalty corners before the momentum switched to Dexter, which had a succession of penalty corners later in the half.
Bell shot just wide off a Kain rebound midway through the half.
With seven minutes left in regulation, Foxcroft had its best chance when Gustin dashed out to contest a Keane shot but deflected the ball onto the stick of freshman Fern Morrison, who had gotten behind her.
But Morrison’s shot missed to the short side.
“That was really scary,” said Gustin. “I thought I had someone behind me but there wasn’t. I was ready to hustle back but the ball went out of bounds.”
“It was a pretty even game,” said Perkins.
“They played very well to matchup against us,” said Hillary Mower.
Foxcroft senior back Rachel Cody and senior midfielder Hilary Kendall felt they played well as a team.
“But it’s always hard to lose with four seconds left,” said Cody.
Dexter coach Kristy Veazie said she thought both goalies “did a great job” and her team played better as the game went along and her forwards began coming back into the defensive third to help out the defense.
Gustin made six saves on 11 shots while Curtis made four on 19.
Dexter had 14 penalty corners to Foxcroft’s six.
Correction: An early version of this story was incorrect. The coach of the team is Kristy Veazie.