ORONO, Maine — The John Bapst Memorial High School field hockey team has its dynamic set of sisters in Emily and Elise Tilton.
Belfast Area High School also has a prolific set of sisters in twins Kristi and Kari Osgood and the Osgoods teamed up to break a 1-1 tie when Kristi converted her twin’s pass with 1:58 remaining to give Belfast a 2-1 win over John Bapst in a Eastern Maine Class B semifinal at the University of Maine on Saturday.
Third seed Belfast, now 12-1-3, will take on top seed and defending state champ Nokomis of Newport, 15-0-1, in Tuesday’s EM Class B final at Hampden Academy.
It will be Belfast’s first berth in an EM final since 2006.
Second seed John Bapst concluded a 13-3 campaign.
Bapst had a slight edge in play in the first half and the teams swapped goals as senior Kendra Kirby staked Belfast to a 1-0 lead only to see Elise Tilton tie it 19 seconds later.
But the Lions gradually took a foothold in the game in the second half, generating five penalty corners to the Crusaders’ one and attempting 15 shots to John Bapst’s four.
They were finally rewarded when Maddy Cummings fed the ball to Kari Osgood in the middle of the circle and she found her sister with a pass.
“I tipped it a little bit to my right (to get a better shooting lane) and swept it in with a reverse sweep,” said Kristi Osgood. “It went to the goalie’s (Aubrey Stanislawski) right into the corner.”
Kari Osgood said, “I don’t have to look up, really. I just know where she is.”
The Tiltons tried to rally the Crusaders but Belfast held on.
Belfast opened the scoring with 4:56 remaining in the first half when Cummings’ diagonal free hit went to the far post where Allison James wristed it to the middle to Kirby, who jammed it home from the doorstep.
But on the ensuing restart, the speedy Elise Tilton made a scintillating run, stickhandling past several Lions before having a shot blocked. However, the rebound came back to her and she snapped it into the near corner for her 21st goal of the season.
Both teams had glorious chances in the second half.
Alert John Bapst back Olivia Cohen cleared a rolling ball just before it crossed the goal line and, later in the half, another terrific dash by Elise Tilton resulted in her breaking in alone on Belfast goalie Julia Ward only to have the alert Ward race off her line and stack her pads to thwart Tilton before the junior midfielder could get her shot off.
“I saw her coming in one-on-one and I knew I either had to go out and play her or she’s going to shoot on me and it’s going to go in,” explained Ward, who plays on the same Majestix club team with Elise Tilton. “You have to time it (right). She played the ball to her right so I played her to the right and hoped she’d pull (the ball) into me so I could push it out.”
Ward finished with four saves on 10 shots, including three off 36-goal scorer and senior Emily Tilton during a five-minute stretch in the first half. The Lions also had a defensive save by center back Katrina Lapham, who teamed with Kristen Martin and Makaila Gould in the back to do an outstanding job against the high-powered Crusaders.
“We knew we really had to be on (the Tilton sisters) at all times inside the 25,” Lapham said.
“They’re a really good team,” said Elise Tilton. “They had a lot of people on the ball. It was difficult for us.”
Stanislawski finished with six saves on 19 shots and Cohen, who had a “fabulous game” according to JB coach Gina Schuck, had her defensive save.
“We played well,” said Belfast coach Allen Holmes who praised his backs and defensive midfielders Brittany Mellor, who marked Elise Tilton, and Brooklyn Curry.