June 24, 2018
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Lapham, Ward, Cummings lead Belfast past Nokomis in EM B final

By Larry Mahoney, BDN Staff

HAMPDEN — Katrina Lapham isn’t the Belfast High School field hockey team’s goalie.

But the junior center back played like a goalie Tuesday night, making two dramatic game-saving stops; junior goalkeeper Julia Ward made eight saves and sophomore left inner Maddy Cummings scored with time elapsed off a penalty corner in the second overtime as Belfast stunned Nokomis of Newport 1-0 in their Eastern Maine Class B championship game.

Third seed Belfast, now 13-1-3, will take on Western Maine champ York, 16-1, in Saturday’s state final in Yarmouth.

Defending state champion Nokomis concluded a 15-1-1 season.

After a game-opening fliurry by the Lions, the Warriors took control of the game and kept the Lions pinned in their own end for extensive periods of time.

But Belfast defended valiantly behind Lapham, Kristen Martin, Makaila Gould and Brittany Mellor and Ward was exceptional in the cage.

With time winding down in the second overtime, Belfast earned just its third penalty corner and converted.

“The ball came to me but I didn’t have a shot so I gave it to Brooklyn Curry, she gave it back to me and I shot it,” said Cummings, who had her shot saved by goalkeeper Kendra Underhill. “The ball came back to Brooklyn and she passed it back to me and I put it away.”

It was Cummings’ second game-winner in the postseason as she also scored in the 20th set of penalty corners to give Belfast its 1-0 win over Foxcroft Academy in the quarterfinals.

But the game never would have reached overtime if it wasn’t for Lapham’s two saves in the second half.

Senior left wing Leah Edmondson was set up nicely in the circle by Drew Graves and Lindsay Whitney only to have her low shot swept away by Lapham.

Late in the second half, senior center midfielder Marissa Shaw fired a waist-high shot labeled for the far post but Lapham was positioned perfectly and deflected the shot wide with the shaft of her stick.

“I’m supposed to be at the post. I play there a lot and I’ve been able to stop some goals. So I just kind of hang out there. It’s my job, I guess,” said Lapham. “It was all reflex.”

“Katrina is such a great defender. It’s awesome,’ said Cummings.

The talented Shaw and Edmondson posed a constant threat but Ward was stout and her mates did a good job clearing rebounds.

Nokomis was awarded a penalty stroke with 5:39 left in the second eight-minute overtime but she sailed her stroke high and wide to Ward’s right side.

“I was so scared,” admitted Ward. “We’ve played a lot together on our club team. I figured it was 50-50. She usually puts it up top to my left. She puts it way up there. She tried to trick me.”

“We played good defense and we lucked out on the penalty stroke (Edmondson) is usually automatic, ” said Belfast coach Allen Holmes, whose Lions won their first Eastern Maine Class B title since 2006.

“We didn’t finish,” said Nokomis coach Katie Thompson. “Their goalie played an amazing game and (Lapham) made some great saves in there. We did a great job today. We dominated the game but sometimes that’s how it goes in field hockey. You can dominate a game but not come out a winner.”

Nokomis actually scored in the first half but Belfast’s Kristi Osgood had been hit in the head with a stick and was being tended to by her twin sister so time was called.

Kristi Osgood didn’t return to the game but remained on the bench with a cut and some dizziness.

Nokomis attempted 16 shots to Belfast’s eight. Underhill made five saves. Nokomis had 11 penalty corners to Belfast’s three.

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