BREWER — It took the Cony High School Rams 52:05 to finally solve Brewer field hockey senior goalie Casey White.
White turned in a terrific 10-save performance, but senior midfielder Heather Leet converted a penalty corner with 7:55 remaining to give the fifth-seeded Rams from Augusta a well-earned 1-0 victory over fourth seed Brewer in their Eastern Maine Class A field hockey quarterfinal at Heddericg Field Wednesday.
Cony attempted 15 shots to Brewer’s four and controlled play from the opening whistle, pressuring the Witches all over the field and attacking with numbers only to have White stymie the Rams.
Leet took the penalty corner that led to her goal, sliding the pass to senior forward Chelsea Begin who wristed a shot toward the cage.
“It was like slow motion. The ball came at me and I just tipped it,” said Leet, whose goal was her third of the season.
“I was going to drive it, but my hands got messed up, so I gave it a hard push,” explained Begin. “Heather was covering the post, which was perfect.”
The ball glanced off White and popped up in the air before dropping behind the goalie and rolling into the cage.
“I was bobbling it with both hands and it just went behind me and went in,” said White, who had made a spectacular save off Nicole Rugan just a few minutes earlier.
Begin fed the ball to Rugan in the circle to White’s right, and her shot was labeled for the short-side corner.
But White flashed out her right foot and pad and kicked it out at the last second.
“That was a nice stop. I thought we were about to score. You’ve got to give her (credit),” said Leet. “We had a lot of opportunities. Luckily, we finished one.”
“She’s a great goalie with great footwork,” said Begin.
Cony (8-6-1) and next will face top seed Skowhegan, 15-0 and winner of nine of the last 10 state Class A championships. Brewer finished 10-4-1.
White made seven saves on 10 shots in the first half, while Cony goalie Kevie Rodrigue was forced to make just one stop on three shots.
Rodrigue finished with two saves on four shots.
Brewer played better in the second half, especially defensively.
But the Witches had trouble generating offense against the quick and swarming Rams.
“We played an outstanding game today,” said Cony assistant Brittany O’Brien, who was filling in for head coach Holly Daigle, who gave birth to a girl Friday. “Our passing game was on. We shot the ball toward the cage and kept shooting and shooting until we finally got one to go in.”
“We played too much defense,” said Brewer coach Duffy Doiron. “We didn’t put enough pressure on them today. Cony is tough. They’re aggressive and strong and go to the ball well. Casey has been amazing all year. It didn’t surprise me she had another great game.”
O’Brien praised her front line featuring Begin, Arika Brochu, Rugan and Alyssa Brochu.
Doiron said, “We had a lot of kids play well” in addition to White, including Deaven Smith, Carly Seymour, Sarah Babin, Morgan Forrest, MacKenzie McCurdy and Gabby Craig.
“But if you don’t put enough pressure on them offensively, it isn’t going to end the way you want it to,” said Doiron.