The Dexter Tigers are the defending Class C state field hockey champions, and are favored to make another run this fall.
But don’t tell that to veteran head coach Margaret Veazie.
One of the biggest reasons Veazie’s teams have been successful over the years is that after the hardware is set in the trophy case and a new season commences, everybody is 0-0 and a new set of challenges begin.
“I’ve learned over the years that last year is last year, this is a whole new team, new faces, new everything but same goal,” Veazie said. “We don’t care about defending, we’re a new team.”
This “new” set of Tigers is well on their way to potentially doing some special things this fall, as they have a 10-1 record and place atop the Heal point standings after defeating archrival Foxcroft Academy 2-0 at home on Monday in a rematch of last year’s Eastern Maine final.
The Ponies began Monday’s play in second place.
“That is the ultimate goal, is to get back to states and get another win,” said senior back Shelby Lancaster after Dexter beat Mattanawcook of Lincoln 2-1 last week.
Dexter has done quite well defensively, letting in only four goals, with three of those coming against Class B foe John Bapst, which is currently third in that division.
Lancaster, Chelsea Crane and Devin Bell anchor the Tigers’ back line while Maicee Gustin has been strong in the goal cage. The Tigers are coming off an impressive 4-0 shutout of Stearns of Millinocket Saturday, in which the Minutemen couldn’t even generate a shot at Gustin.
The Tigers are young up front, with Darcy Perkins, Sarah Eastman, Jordyn Bell and Libby Kain, all sophomores, providing the offensive punch.
Kain is new to the squad after transferring from Piscataquis High of Guilford this fall.
“Playing on this team is much different, I love it, they really know how to play field hockey,” said Kain. “Guilford wasn’t really the place for me. I get along with everybody (here). I like everybody in Dexter.”
Of course with youth up front comes some growing pains, which was a tad evident against Mattanawcook when the Tigers struggled a bit to finish in front of the goal.
“That’s actually been a struggle we’ve had all season is to finish in front of the cage,” Lancaster said. “We have a very good offense, finishing is the biggest problem we’ve always had.”
But tradition never graduates, and that is the case in Dexter.
“They work hard yearround, this isn’t just a two-month program,” said Veazie. “We have a very strong program, very committed, and they deserve to be where they are.”
Treadwell to return soon
Hermon girls soccer coach Stori Shaw is hoping that junior goalkeeper Mikayla Treadwell will return to action on Thursday against Mattanawcook Academy.
Treadwell has been out since sustaining a mild concussion in a game against Central of Corinth last week, when she was accidentally kicked in the head by a Central player after diving on a loose ball.
“It wasn’t deliberate at all, a girl (was) going in and Mikayla came out and dove on it and the girl went to kick the ball and kicked her in the side of the head,” Shaw said “(She) felt horrible. I’m pretty good friends with their coach, Mike McHugh, and he felt horrible.”
Treadwell wound up leaving the game and subsequently went to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor to be checked out.
“We’re hoping she’ll be cleared today,” Shaw said. “Our team was playing very well with her in goal.”
Shaw added its unlikely Treadwell wound suit up for Tuesday night’s pivotal road contest at Ellsworth.
The Hawks have lost two straight after a four-game winning streak that included a road win over Presque Isle, and Hermon is currently seventh in Class B with five games to go.
Nine teams will qualify for the Class B postseason.
“I think we started out and we exceeded our expectations, we did really well, (but) I’m hoping we’re not satisfied with where we are,” Shaw said. “Every team we’ve played has been a good team. We need to beat Old Town and Bapst to have a shot at the playoffs at this point.”
Hermon, 5-4, has back-to-back home dates with those two clubs to close out the regular season, and John Bapst has been playing well as of late, having moved up to fourth in the Heal points with a 3-1 home win over top-ranked and previously undefeated Caribou on Thursday.