HAMPDEN, Maine — The Foxcroft Academy Ponies overcame a shaky first half and got another shutout from junior netminder Brianna Skolfield to take the Eastern Maine Class C field hockey title Tuesday afternoon.
Sophomore forward Madison Fadley scored the lone goal midway through the second half to propel Foxcroft to a 1-0 victory over the Winslow High School Black Raiders (15-2) at Hampden Academy.
The Ponies (16-0-1), who were the Eastern Maine Class C champs in 2010, will play Western Maine champion North Yarmouth Academy (14-2-1) in the state final Saturday at Yarmouth High School.
Foxcroft, the Eastern Maine Class B runners-up last season, beat Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield in the quarterfinals and Mount View of Thorndike in the semifinals before Tuesday’s matchup with the Raiders (15-2).
Winslow produced the majority of the scoring chances in the opening 30 minutes but could not capitalize on the goals.
“I’m happy,” said Foxcroft head coach Stephanie Smith. “I certainly would’ve liked it if we played a better first half, that was definitely not Foxcroft field hockey. But we obviously persevered, played tough defense and got it together a little bit better in the second half.”
Skolfield — who’s only goal allowed this season came in the semifinal against Mount View — produced eight stops against the Raiders, including a diving effort around the 24-minute mark of the first half to keep the score level.
“[Brianna] has had a great season, but she’s certainly had a strong, strong defense in front of her,” Smith said. “I think we’ve kind of made her job easier. Usually we’re the ones that don’t get shot on, but today she really had to step up and work hard.”
“Foxcroft is a great team, I thought they played very, very well,” said Winslow head coach Mary Beth Bourgoine. “I don’t think we played to the best that we normally do but that’s not to take away from what they did; they’re a great team. We had our opportunities. There were times in the circle where we could’ve scored and you know, they have a great goalie, so they stopped us.”
The Raiders finished with an 8-4 advantage in shots on goal and 9-4 edge in penalty corners.
Fadley’s game-winner came on Foxcroft’s lone penalty corner of the half with a little more than 16 minutes remaining in regulation. She was assisted by senior forward Emily Higgins.
“We took a corner on the opposite side that we normally do, so that was new,” Fadley said. “Emily Higgins had a great pass over to me and I just whipped it in; I didn’t even think about it. I just did what I needed to do — we’ve practiced it so many times.”
Winslow was threatening in the final minute, but Foxcroft held strong before senior midfielder Amber Anderson’s clear with 10 seconds left sealed it.
“I think they need to be proud of where we are,” Bourgoine said. “To do what we did and to play the way we did in the regular season and get to this point is definitely something to be proud of, and they should be holding their heads high.”
Foxcroft is eager to play in Saturday’s state final.
“We have to come to play from the minute the first whistle goes off,” Smith said.
“It’s a brand new game,” Fadley said. “We don’t know who they are and we’re just going to play as hard as we know how and hopefully the result will be victorious.”