ORONO, Maine — Wednesday’s field hockey contest between Orono and Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln was a game of contrasting halves. Orono controlled play in the first half and Mattanawcook had a decided edge in the second half.
Senior Sherraiah Grace set up both goals and junior Ana Eliza Souza Cunha scored the game-winner with 24:31 left in the second half as Orono held off Mattanawcook 2-1.
Orono senior goalie Jessica Miller made several crucial saves in the second half to preserve Orono’s second win in three games.
Abby Weigang staked Orono to a 1-0 lead just 2:30 into the game but Kendra Thurlow equalized for MA (1-2) 16 minutes later.
Orono had a 13-4 edge in shots at goal in the first half and a 7-1 advantage in penalty corners.
But the Lynx had a 7-1 edge in shots and a 5-0 bulge in penalty corners in the second half.
“I think we were lucky to get away with a win. They pounded us in the second half,” said Orono coach Dodi Saucier. “Jessica [Miller] kept us in it.”
“They really brought it to us in the second half,” agreed Grace. “But we came together when we needed to. And Jessica [Miller] was incredible.”
The energetic and skilled Grace set up Cunha’s decisive goal with one of her scintillating runs down the right wing.
She slid the ball across the goalmouth and Cunha, positioned in the middle of the circle, snapped it home.
“Sherraiah’s pass deflected over to me and I put it by the goalie [Lauren Page] to the opposite corner,” said Cunha.
That would wind up being Orono’s only good scoring chance of the half as the Lynx began applying pressure in an attempt to get the equalizer.
Thurlow just missed the corner with a shot from the circle a few minutes later and she was robbed by Miller with 18 minutes left in regulation when the goalie got her pad on Miller’s powerful, knee-high 10-yard drive from the left side of the circle.
Courtney McIntyre and Reilly Struck came close with in-tight deflections later in the half.
The Lynx generated some furious onslaughts in the circle but the Riots were able to get their sticks on some shots and Miller made the saves when the shots got through.
“We played much better in the second half,” said junior Thurlow. “We focused more on offense in the second half.”
Thurlow created a lot of chances with her stickhandling skills and ability to get her shots off quickly.
Orono wasted little time establishing its dominance in the first half and the Riots were rewarded with the early goal.
Grace dribbled past defenders along the right wing and slid a diagonal pass to Weigang in the middle of the circle. She took a quick shot and didn’t get much on it but that served as a change of pace and it rolled past Page’s right foot.
The Riots had the Lynx on the back foot and stormed the circle but the Lynx were able to get their sticks on Orono’s shots and Page came up with a great save off Grace.
Mattanawcook Academy tied the game against the run of play when Thurlow got the rebound of her own shot and fired it past Miller for the first goal of her career.
Miller finished with six saves on 11 shots while Page wound up with two saves on 14 shots.
“We got better as the game went along,” said MA coach Dean Libbey. “We had some great opportunities. I thought we could have won this game. We were just inches away.
“But that’s sports,” added Libbey.
Miller said she was happy with the way she played.
“I’m glad we won,” said Miller.
JV: Orono 1-0