NEWPORT, Maine — Penalty corners are one of the primary sources of goals in field hockey.
And the Nokomis High School Warriors proved that on Wednesday.
The second-seeded Warriors received goals off penalty corners from Taylor Lovley, Kelsey Kerstetter and Lindsay Whitney and posted a 3-0 win over No. 7 seed Oceanside of Rockland/Thomaston in their Eastern Maine Class B quarterfinal.
Nokomis (12-2-1) will host No. 3 Foxcroft Academy (13-2) in Saturday’s 10 a.m. semifinal.
Nokomis coach Katie Thompson said penalty corners had been a weakness, but “we’ve worked hard on them” and it has paid off.
“Nokomis did an outstanding job on its penalty corners. Hats off to them,” said Oceanside coach Joanna Hall.
The Warriors scored just 1:06 into the game when Lovley received an insertion pass from Kerstetter. Lovley pushed the ball ahead and fired a long-range shot from the left side that snuck inside the near post past goalkeeper Zoe Billington.
“I was just trying to shoot to see what we could get out of it,” said Lovley. “I didn’t think it was going in. I was surprised. But any time you can get a shot off, it’s good.”
“It was a nice, hard shot,” said Hall. “[Billington] just didn’t see it. She didn’t react to it.”
“We go to [Lovley] a lot on penalty corners. She has a nice shot,” said Kerstetter, who added that getting an early lead was “really important.”
Oceanside (8-5-2) had a couple of chances later in the half off penalty corners, but Kendra Underhill made a nice pad save off Jackie Thorbjornson. She got some help when Hannah Plourde’s deflection off Thorbjornson’s shot was stopped by one of her defenders and cleared away.
After an evenly played first half, the Warriors controlled play in the second half.
Oceanside had four first-half penalty corners but was held without one in the second half.
“We were a little bit sluggish at the end of the first half, so we talked at halftime about coming out and having a strong second half and the girls got the job done,” said Thompson. “I thought our defense did a great job breaking down their attack.”
Sophomore Kamryn Foss and juniors Taylor Shaw and Kayla Braley turned in outstanding performances in the back as junior goalkeeper Kendra Underhill was forced to make just two saves on five shots.
The dangerous Thorbjornson and Plourde used their speed and skill to make promising runs only to be confronted by Foss, Shaw or Braley.
Kerstetter expanded the lead with 14:09 left in regulation.
Kerstetter inserted a pass to Whitney, whose shot was blocked by an Oceanside defender.
“[Their defender] tried to go across the goal with it, but I just block tackled the ball and put it into the far corner,” said Kerstetter.
Whitney sewed up the win 6:22 later when she accepted the insertion pass from Kerstetter, pushed the ball to her right and rifled a low shot back against the grain that deflected in off an Oceanside stick.
Billington wound up with two saves on 10 shots.