OLD TOWN, Maine — The schedule-makers didn’t do first-year Old Town High School field hockey coach Jamie Flagg any favors when they made defending state Class C champion Foxcroft Academy her Coyotes’ opening-game opponent.
Foxcroft Academy extended its unbeaten streak to 19 games (18-0-1) on Wednesday with a 5-0 victory, but Flagg was encouraged.
“We knew coming in it was going to be a real difficult game. We prepared appropriately, and it wasn’t that bad. We started nine sophomores and freshmen. Our girls played hard and did a great job. I was proud of all of them,” said Flagg.
The Ponies, with seven returning starters off last year’s team, showed that they will be a viable candidate to defend their state title with an impressive performance after a sluggish start.
Senior right wing Julia Annis, who led the team with 21 goals a year ago, posted two goals and an assist. Junior forward Madison Fadley added a goal and an assist while freshman Emily Curtis and senior Fern Morrison had the other goals.
Emma Tetlow and Jenny Boyer had assists. Junior Madison Chadbourne wasn’t required to make a save in the first half, and sophomore Abby Simpson made three saves on six shots in the second half.
Freshman Corrine Saucier made five saves on 23 shots for Old Town, which reached the Eastern Maine Class B finals a year ago, losing to eventual state champ Nokomis of Newport 1-0.
The 14-2-1 Coyotes were hit hard by graduation, and coach Sarah Estes left to coach her alma mater, Brewer High.
“We didn’t play our best, but we played all right for the first game,” said Fadley, whose goal midway through the first half proved to be the game-winner.
It was her third consecutive game-winner as she scored the goals that beat Winslow in the Eastern Maine Class C final and North Yarmouth Academy in the state title game, both by 1-0 scores.
“We started out a little sloppy, but we played better [as the game progressed],” said Annis.
Fadley’s goal was set up by Tetlow.
“We came up the left side. Emma threw it over to me, I ran on to it, and there was no defender on me. I hit it into the opposite corner,” said Fadley.
Annis expanded the lead with 8:39 left in the half.
Fadley intercepted an Old Town clearing attempt and took a shot that was kicked out by Saucier. But the rebound landed on Annis’ stick, and she converted.
“I put it between [Saucier’s] legs,” said Annis.
Curtis made it 3-0 with 50.7 seconds left off a penalty corner.
Boyer had the initial shot, but it deflected over to Curtis, who turned and swept it past Saucier.
Morrison and Annis added second-half goals.
Morrison and Annis worked a nifty give-and-go to the left of Saucier, and Morrison’s in-close shot squeezed into the short-side corner.
“Julia and I have worked together for a while,” said Morrison.
Annis capitalized on the rebound of her own shot, which hit a stick in front and deflected back to her.
Freshman McKenna Smith nearly scored for Old Town in the second half, but Simpson came off her line and made back-to-back saves.
Foxcroft Academy coach Stephanie Smith called her team’s performance “fair.”
“I had to get a timeout in there to get them going,” said Smith. “It was the first game. We weren’t going to be perfect, nor should we be. But we should improve as the season goes along.”
She praised junior left back Avery Carroll, saying “she had a great game. She moved her feet and worked really hard.”
Smith and Brooke Sulinski turned in impressive performances for Old Town, and Flagg also felt midfielder Lauren Gasaway and forward Natalie St. Louis did well during the game.