DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — Senior Gabi Henderson has figured in a number of goals for the Foxcroft Academy field hockey team this season but, on Tuesday, it was a defensive play by her that helped the third-seeded Ponies top sixth seed John Bapst of Bangor 2-0 in their Eastern Maine Class B field hockey quarterfinal Tuesday afternoon.
Foxcroft Academy improved to 13-2 and will either visit second seed Nokomis of Newport (11-2-1) or host seventh seed Oceanside of Rockland/Thomaston (8-4-2) in Saturday’s semifinal.
Nokomis and Oceanside had their quarterfinal postponed and rescheduled for Wednesday at 3 p.m. in Newport.
John Bapst wound up at 10-5. The two teams had split during the regular season.
The Ponies were holding a 1-0 lead with 13:14 remaining in regulation when John Bapst’s Christina Long took a shot from the circle that was deflected and popped in the air.
The ball landed and was rolling toward the exposed cage when Henderson sprinted across the goalmouth and swept the ball away just before it crossed the goal line.
“It was a moment of panic,” said Henderson. “They were going to score so I ran in and knocked it out.”
“That helped us a lot,” said sophomore Julia Annis, who set up the clinching goal by Fern Morrison 9:07 later.
Annis made a nice run along the end line to the left of John Bapst goalie Karen Noble before slipping the ball across to Morrison in the middle of the circle.
“I had an open shot and I took it,” said Morrison, who tucked it inside the far post to Noble’s right.
Senior Tia Tondreau had scored the game-winner during a scramble in the Bapst circle with 17:52 left in the first half.
Morrison and Annis were in the middle of the circle and Tondreau was stationed at the far post.
“I think Jenny Boyer sent the ball across and it deflected off [Annis’] stick over to me and I just deflected it in,” said Tondreau who swept the ball into the short-side corner behind the helpless Karen Noble.
“They cut the ball across the cage and I was already on the ground so I couldn’t get it,” said Noble.
Foxcroft attempted 23 shots to John Bapst’s one in the first half and had 11 penalty corners while holding the Crusaders without one.
Noble was stellar and the Bapst defense corps featuring Olivia and Amelia Pellegrini, Sam Ballesteros and Rachel Graves, chipped in with timely clearances to keep them within striking distance.
Bapst performed much better in an evenly-played second half and had two penalty corners in the first two minutes of play but failed to convert.
They had four in the half compared to Foxcroft’s one.
“I felt like we outplayed them in the second half but we didn’t outscore them,” said John Bapst coach Gina Schuck. “The girls really stepped up in the second half. They played with heart. They should be proud of how they played. But Foxcroft is a tough team.”
Freshman Avery Carroll made two saves on five shots for the Ponies while Noble finished with eight saves on 30 shots.
Henderson thought her team turned in a solid performance.
“We played very well. We worked well together,” said Henderson.
Abby Simmons and MacKenzie Coiley anchored the Pony defense and Annis, Amber Anderson and Monica Miles were constant threats on offense.
Bapst midfielder Elise Tilton ended a brilliant career with another impressive performance and fellow seniors Long and Jessica Leslie were also strong up front.