HAMPDEN, Maine — The Nokomis High School Warriors have been stingy all season long and they showed why on Tuesday night.
The Warriors parlayed a thorough defensive effort, four saves from senior goalie Kendra Underhill and an early second-half goal by senior forward Drew Graves into a 1-0 field hockey victory over Old Town in their Eastern Maine Class B championship game.
The Warriors from Newport will take on Western Maine titlist York in Saturday’s state championship game at Yarmouth High School. Both teams are 17-0 and it will be a rematch of the 2010 title game won by Nokomis 2-0.
The shutout was the 12th of the season for Nokomis and sixth in the last seven games.
The Nokomis back line of Taylor Shaw, Kamryn Foss, Elizabeth Dunivan and Kelsey Kerstetter teamed up with midfielders Kayla Braley and Kirsten Costedio to continually win balls and limit Old Town’s time of possession in the offensive half.
“They definitely went to the ball well,” said Old Town coach Sarah Estes. “That was a key to their success tonight. We played well in the second half but things didn’t go our way.”
“We knew we were going to have to play defense in the defensive half, not just the circle,” said Nokomis coach Katie Thompson. “The girls focused on it and did a good job. Our midfielders, especially Kirsten Costedio and Kayla Braley, did an excellent job cutting on to the ball.”
“They knew where we were going to put the ball and cut to it very well. They’re just a great team,” said Old Town senior forward and tri-captain Tia Jackson.
The game’s only goal came off a penalty corner.
Graves actually made the insertion pass to Shaw at the top of the circle and she shot it back to the post where Graves and Lindsay Whitney converged on it.
“I knew the goalie (Erica Ogden) came out pretty far so I was shooting for the far corner,” said Shaw.
“After the insert, I ran to the near post because Taylor has such a nice shot across the goal,” said Graves. “I tipped it just enough to Lindsay and she got a little bit of her stick on it. It hit the goalie’s pad and came back to me and I was able to tip it in the short side.”
“I made a save but I’m not sure what happened after that,” said Ogden. “I looked down and when I looked up, the goal was in.
“They played a great game. They deserved to win,” said Ogden.
Ogden turned in an impressive five-save performance and back Sarah Plunkett made a goal-saving clearance in the first half after a shot by the omnipresent Whitney got by Ogden and was headed for the open cage.
Whitney was a constant threat with her stickhandling skills and speed.
Old Town generated a few good chances but couldn’t beat Underhill.
Underhill made a near post save on a Kate Rawson blast in the first minute and a few solid stops in the second half off Brooke Sullinski and Ali King.
Nokomis outshot Old Town 11-6 and had 10 penalty corners to Old Town’s two.
“We had a wonderful season. The girls did a great job,” said Estes.