Foxcroft Academy field hockey coach Stephanie Smith knew she was going to have a good team team this season.
It certainly lived up to her expectations as the top-seeded Ponies prepare for Saturday’s 1 p.m. Class C North semifinal against No. 4 Dirigo High of Dixfield.
Not only are the 15-0 Ponies one of only two undefeated teams in the North, along with perennial Class A North champ Skowhegan, but they also have allowed only two goals.
“I’m not being cocky, but I’m not surprised we’re 15-0 and have been only scored upon twice,” Smith said. “This is a real group of girls who are very dedicated.”
Senior backs Natalie Robinson and Karis Dankert and junior midfielder Sheryl Chase have been the defensive stalwarts in front of senior goalie Abbie Moore.
“Sheryl is our rock. She is one of our strongest defensive players. Natalie and Karis are great leaders in the back line,” Smith said.
In addition to its 13 shutouts, Foxcroft Academy surrendered a goal Sept. 28 in a 3-1 home victory over Dexter and allowed one Oct. 5 in a 2-1 home win against Old Town.
The highlight of the season so far is FA’s 1-0 double-overtime win on Oct. 8 over Class B top seed Winslow. Moore made 22 saves in that game.
Foxcroft competed in Class B last season and was eliminated by Winslow 2-1 in the semifinals. It was a game in which Smith feels her team deserved a better fate.
“It was heart-wrenching. We felt like we dominated the game,” Smith said.
FA’s win over Winslow earlier this month left a lasting impression on the eighth-year head coach.
“That was the best game I have ever been a part of as a coach. It was so well played and so intense. Both teams. It was just the best of the best,” Smith said.
The victory served as a great confidence booster for Foxcroft Academy.
“I told the girls, ‘Now you know how well you can play,’” Smith said.
The Ponies have an interesting matchup against 10-5 Dirigo which, along with Spruce Mountain of Jay and Mountain Valley of Rumford, moved over to Class C North from Class C South this season with Boothbay Region and Winthrop sliding over from C North to C South.
Winthrop beat Spruce Mountain 3-1 in the 2018 state game.
Dirigo, a 4-1 loser to Spruce Mountain in the C South semis last year, upended Spruce Mountain on Tuesday in the C North quarterfinals.
“We don’t know anything about [Dirigo],” Smith said. “But sometimes it’s nice not to know what you’re going up against. We just need to go out and play our game and, if we do, we’ll be in good shape.”
The Ponies have scored 61 goals, most of them coming off the sticks of senior Cassidy Marsh and juniors Ava Rayfield and Maranda Poulin, who all scored in the 4-0 quarterfinal win over Mount View of Thorndike.
In Class A North, Skowhegan seeks its 19th consecutive regional title with a semifinal match against Mt. Ararat of Topsham.
Alexis Michonski and University of Maine-bound Bhreagh Kennedy are among the standouts for coach Paula Doughty’s Indians, which have won 15 state Class A titles in the past 18 years.
Winslow (13-2) hosts 12-3 Lawrence of Fairfield, the No. 5 seed, on Friday at 3 p.m.
Several playoff games were pushed back from Wednesday to Thursday so Saturday’s semifinals matchups were still up in the air.
In the other B semifinal, No. 6 Gardiner (11-4), the defending state champ, takes on No. 2 Belfast (12-3) at 1 p.m. Saturday at Point Lookout in Northport.