DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — When an undefeated team and a once-beaten club square off, you’d expect it to be close.
So Foxcroft Academy’s 1-0 Eastern Maine Class B field hockey win over John Bapst of Bangor on Monday wasn’t unexpected.
But the score was the only thing about the game that was close.
The Ponies, now 9-0, attempted 22 shots to just one for the 7-2 Crusaders and that one attempt came in the first two minutes of play.
FA earned 15 penalty corners and John Bapst didn’t have any.
Foxcroft Academy dominated every facet of the game, but senior midfielder Monica Miles was the only one who could beat Crusaders sophomore goalkeeper Karen Noble, who was under siege for most of the game and finished with seven saves during an outstanding performance.
“The girls did everything I asked them to do. They worked hard. They deserved the win,” said FA coach Stephanie Smith, who is filling in for long-time coach Gene Philpot. Philpot is on a leave of absence.
Miles scored 7:47 into the game off the Ponies’ fourth penalty corner.
Gabi Henderson set her up.
“Gabi stopped the ball and dished it to me,” said Miles, who was on the left side of the penalty circle and maneuvered across the middle.
“I pulled it around one girl and then another and I saw the corner,” said Miles, who deposited a well-placed shot back against the grain and past the extended right foot of Noble.
“It was a good shot,” said Noble. “I sort of saw the ball moving but I didn’t see it leave (Miles’) stick. I tried to lunge for it but I was off my angle and couldn’t lunge far enough.”
Miles had a similar opportunity midway through the second half but Noble made a terrific right-pad save to keep her team within striking distance.
The Ponies used their impressive speed and tenacity to limit the Crusaders’ time with the ball and they did an exceptional job attacking down the flanks and sending menacing crosses into the penalty circle which enabled them to generate penalty corners and scoring chances.
Miles, Henderson, Lindsey Arno, Julia Annis and Amber Anderson were constant threats for the Ponies.
FA’s Mackenzie Coiley did an outstanding job marking dynamic John Bapst midfielder and 17-goal scorer Elise Tilton and she also received plenty of help from her teammates, particularly Abigail Simmons, who converged on the speedy Tilton whenever she touched the ball.
“We did the same thing against Dexter (2-1 win over Sept. 10). We try and mark their key player. We knew we had to do that if we were going to have a chance to win,” explained Coiley.
“We couldn’t keep the ball more than a second because they had so much pressure on us,” said Tilton.
“We played one of our best team games today,” said Coiley. “We all played well together.”
“The intensity was up,” concurred Henderson, who attempted seven shots, which was second behind Miles’ eight.
The Crusaders had a clean breakaway opportunity in the waning moments of the game but the ball was overrun and there was no shot.
“Foxcroft played real well,” said John Bapst coach Gina Schuck. “They did a great job stuffing the middle. Elise can get through one or two [defenders] but she can’t get through six.”
Schuck praised the efforts turned in by backs Rachel Graves, sisters Amelia and Olivia Pellegrini and Sami Ballesteros along with goalkeeper Noble.
Foxcroft Academy plays on a beautifully-manicured grass field that is slower than the University of Maine’s artificial turf field where John Bapst plays.
The Crusaders had several mishits on the grass.
“It’s tough to transition from turf to grass,” said Tilton whose Crusaders will entertain Foxcroft on Saturday at 11 a.m.