ORONO — In a field hockey game like this, with two evenly skilled teams going at it, scoring opportunities must be taken advantage of.
Orono capitalized on its chances Tuesday afternoon, and Jill Tuell was a factor in both goals.
Tuell set up Audrey Landis just 2:25 into the match while adding a goal of her own late in the second half as the Red Riots earned a 2-0 Class C victory over Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln.
Tuell helped coach Dodi Saucier’s club improve to 4-2, and she set the tone by feeding an unmarked Landis on the left side of the circle.
“I was actually stickhandling in the middle and I kind of drifted the ball off to the side and Audrey shot it to the corner,” said Tuell.
After that, it was an evenly contested match between two equally skilled clubs, but Orono featured more quickness, and that proved to be the difference.
“That’s what I tried to tell them at halftime, we had to get to some of those balls a little quicker,” said MA coach Dean Libbey, whose club falls to 3-3-1. “They were just quicker than we were.”
The Riots’ quickness led to some high-percentage scoring chances, but Lynx goalkeeper Colleen Albert, who made eight saves on the day, thwarted many of those opportunities and kept Mattanawcook in the contest.
“She played her angles very well and she had the goal covered,” Saucier said.
Mattanawcook had a couple of chances to gain the equalizer in the second half, but a shot on a breakaway by Taylor Hawkins deflected off the right post while Orono ‘keeper Mandy Spencer stuffed another shortly thereafter.
“Defensively I thought we did a great job with stopping them and taking it off to the side and clearing it,” Tuell said. “I have a lot of confidence in my defense because we’re always smart.”
Audrey Landis, Mindy Adams and Bri Murray excelled on defense for Orono, and they did a solid job getting the ball up to the Red Riots’ attackers.
“We try for the possession. We don’t have depth so we can’t run the legs off other teams,” Saucier said. “That’s our focus is the possession passing and using space well.”
Tuell finally put the match away with 5:13 remaining, taking a pass from Virginia Lopez, making a few dribbles and swiping the ball between Albert’s pads.
“I kind of prayed for the five-hole and that’s what happened,” said Tuell.
That left the Lynx to ponder what could have been had they converted some of their scoring chances.
“If we could’ve converted one of those it might have changed a little momentum in the game, but the fact is Orono stepped up the second half. I think they outplayed us, we got caught a little bit flat here,” Libbey said.
But he was quick to praise Albert, who made several gems in the cage, including a great pad stop on a blistering shot by Tuell in the second half.
“Right near the end there she stopped a couple of rockets. That helped us a little bit,” Libbey said. “The game, 2-0, let’s face it, it could’ve easliy been 2-2 or it could’ve been 4-0 or 4-2. It was a well-played game.”
Spencer came up with five saves for Orono, which outshot Mattanawcook 11-8.