DEXTER, Maine — There aren’t many secrets, if any, when Dexter and Central of Corinth meet on the field hockey field.
The regional rivals already had played twice before meeting again in Saturday afternoon’s Eastern Maine Class C semifinal playoff, with Dexter winning both.
Dexter’s Tigers made it a clean sweep with a 2-0 win but had to withstand a furious flurry of shots by the Red Devils before celebrating a second straight trip to the regional final.
Dexter (16-0) scored both goals in the first half and held a 5-0 edge in shots in the second before Central regrouped and started storming the Tigers’ goal, getting off 10 shots in the final 14 minutes of play.
“They were really intense late. I think we let up for a minute but eventually got back on our toes and started playing better,” said Dexter senior goalie Sam Conway, who notched her ninth shutout of the season. “My defenders did a really good job of getting down in the circle and taking it out to the side most of the game.”
When they didn’t, Conway came up big, making a sprawling, headfirst save by poking the ball away from an onrushing Central player with 13:55 left as well as several other stops in the last nine minutes, including two three-shot flurries by Central.
“She’s really good at deciding whether to come out or stay,” said Dexter head coach Margaret Veazie. “She’s really good at timing and knowing what needs to be done and today she did what she needed to.”
So did Crissy Mountain, a junior who assisted on the first goal and scored the second.
With 17:07 left in the first, her forward pass from about 40 feet out set up twin sister Cally Mountain, whose shot from about 15 feet in front of the goal on the right side eluded Central goalie Brittany Cote.
“She’s my sister, so we kind of have a thing going. It wasn’t even planned,” said Crissy Mountain. “We usually have a set play, but that wasn’t it.”
With 3:49 left in the half, Crissy Mountain corralled a pass from the left corner by Jessica Mason and skimmed it into the left corner of the net from 25 feet out.
Conway made eight saves (seven in the second half) on 11 shots (10), while Cote finished with seven saves on 13 shots.
After losing to Dexter 5-2 and 2-1 earlier, Central head coach Diane Rollins was determined not to make the third time a charm.
“You could see this team progress a lot the last few weeks and this was a good game for us. I was proud of them and I think we held our own,” said Rollins, whose Devils finished 8-8.
Dexter’s players agreed.
“They had forwards staying up and then they’d drive the ball up to them and they’d carry it down, so it was hard to get to them,” said Crissy Mountain.